As students ready to head back to school this week, a newly-released report from the Department of State Police and Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention says Maryland is ahead of the curve on school safety.
SB 1265, Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018, passed the General Assembly on the final day of the 2018 legislative session and was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan. The legislation will act as a blueprint for improving school safety in Maryland.
The bill requires public high schools to have either a school resource officer or plans for adequate law enforcement coverage by the upcoming school year. Public middle and elementary schools will need to have either a school resource officer or plans for adequate law enforcement coverage in place prior to the 2019-2020 school year.
The FY 2019 operating budget allocates $40.6 million in operating and capital funds to improve school safety. The State has also made more than $37 million in grant funding available for local school systems to enhance school security.
According to The Frederick News-Post:
The passing of the bill, which went into effect June 1, consolidated school safety funding and operations into the Maryland Center for School Safety and. the Interagency Commission on School Construction, diverging from Maryland Department of State Police and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, a move the report stated as “reasonable” but also making it “premature to draw any conclusions on the effectiveness of the changes.”
The report added that due to funding changes, schools should become “a great deal safer in the near future.”
“Although this report was designed to answer the need for guidance on the future of school safety initiatives, the Maryland General Assembly in concert with the administration took the lead by proposing specific legislation to address the need,” the report stated.
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