Statewide school security assessment to be completed by end of month

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s push to review the facilities and safety procedures of every public school will be completed by the end of the month.

Back in March, the School Safety Working Group – which was tasked with making recommendations for keeping Tennessee schools safe after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida – sent their report to Governor Bill Haslam. The first of several recommendations called for “a review and risk assessment of all school facilities to identify vulnerabilities.”

The governor approved the goals and ordered the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Department of Education and local officials, to implement the assessment. The full assessment of each school was supposed to be completed by the time students returned to class, but now officials say it will be done by the end of August.

As of Tuesday, August 14, 1,796 schools (99 percent) of public schools have completed the security assessment.

While each school has their own safety plan, the state said this is the first time it has been involved in a comprehensive effort to determine each school’s individual security needs.

On Tuesday, Governor Haslam also announced the state will be providing $35 million in security funding. This money will be used to help address the identified security needs in each school.

Each school will have to individually apply for the grant money, the governor said.

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is also working on a mobile app for students, staff and faculty to use to report concerns or suspicious behavior.