School safety center proposal clears second vote
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill establishing a network of regional school safety centers and a threat assessment program has cleared its second floor vote in the Washington Legislature, with lawmakers citing recent mass shootings at US schools as motivation.
Set up in each of the state’s nine educational service districts, the centers would offer assistance and training to individual school districts, including suicide prevention and other behavioral health training, and help establish plans to identify and assist distressed students.
The state Senate unanimously approved the measure Friday after amending it on the floor. It now returns to the state House for a final vote.
Sen. Steve O’Ban, a University Place Republican, said the bill had been motivated in part by the shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.
Along with the centers, the bill directs state education authorities to develop a model program for identifying and responding to students in crisis who might threaten others. The regional centers are tasked with helping school districts implement the program.
This story has been updated to correct the next step facing the bill.