Tennessee’s governor Monday signed an executive order meant to enhance school safety in the wake of a mass shooting at a high school in Uvalde, Texas.
“Parents need to have full confidence that their children are safe at school, and thankfully, Tennessee has built a firm foundation with our practical approach to securing schools, recognizing crisis and providing confidential reporting of any suspicious activity,” said Governor Bill Lee (R) in press release. “This order strengthens accountability and transparency around existing school safety planning and assures Tennessee parents that our efforts to protect students and teachers will continue.”
According to the release, Executive Order 97 is geared towards helping both parents and schools remain safe, particularly from intruders who might want to cause harm.
Parents will be able to “engage and advocate for safe conditions at their child’s school, including how to report suspicious or concerning activity” through a mobile application, which will also allow them to seek mental health resources for their children.
The executive order also “[e]ncourages parents, families and the local community to engage in school safety and partner with law enforcement to promote the habits and practices that help ensure school building security against unauthorized intruders.”
“By implementing simple practices, such as ensuring a single point of entry and multiple points of exit, securing vestibules and other access points, and reporting suspicious activity, communities have the ability to vastly increase the security of their local school,” the release said.
Tennessee state agencies are also directed to help schools comply with security assessments and submit school safety plans.
Some of the guidance provided by those state agencies includes the following, according to the release:
- An increase in periodic audits of Tennessee local school security assessments and school safety plans, including but not limited to random in-person verification by state officials of a school’s implementation of the approved assessment;
- A set of best practices for school leaders to enhance building security and safety against an unauthorized intruder; and
- Information for district and local government leadership regarding financial resources for school safety available through state programs and the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act (TISA).
Lee’s office did not return a Monday request seeking further comment.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].