Comptroller: changes coming to school security

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 13, 2023

Things are about to change at the state level where it concerns school security. The Office of the Tennessee Comptroller has produced a review of recent changes via provisions enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly during its 2023 regular and special sessions. The changes will be financed through the provision of more than $240 million in new funding. The legislature has enacted new requirements that it hopes will keep students, faculty and employees at every school campus across the state safe and secure.

Some of the key changes, released on Oct. 12 by the comptroller, include new state dollars for school resource officers and school security improvement grants for public and private campuses. Another key change involves adding more agents to the Homeland Security roster. The main aim is to assist with school security and threat assessments along with beefed-up emergency response plans.

The funding will include increases in school-based behavioral health liaisons assigned to public schools.

New penalties for violations of the requirements for locked school doors have been instituted. Changes have been made to safety plan submissions. Moving forward, the emergency operation plans will need to be submitted by public schools each year rather than every five years. Private schools, including church-related institutions, will be included in the annual safety plan requirements.

It will now be mandatory to establish a threat assessment team in every school district. Revisions have been made to active shooter training requirements for licensed armed security guards at public or private schools. Safety drill requirements have also been expanded.

A one-page snapshot of the full brief can be found by logging onto the Comptroller’s website at: www.tncot.cc/orea.