School safety bill is now law
Senator Greg Hembree (Horry and Dillon Counties) announced that Senate Bill 709, The School Safety Bill, passed both houses of the General Assembly during a special clean up session last Wednesday. “Although we pushed it to the wire, in the end we received broad, bi-partisan support for the school safety bill”, an enthusiastic Hembree explained.
The bill requires every school district to develop a school safety plan that includes fire, severe weather and active shooter/intruder responses in the plan. The South Carolina Department of Education, State Fire Marshall and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) will work together to provide model policies to districts and will be available to assist in developing the district plans. Once established, the district safety plans will be subject to review and comment by the State Department of Education. Said Senator Hembree, “It was important that local districts retain the authority to develop a plan that fits the community’s facilities and resources; at the same time we must maintain appropriate standards.”
Asked what prompted the need for the bill, Hembree cited learning from local media that fire inspections were not required under current law, and the school shootings that have occurred in other states. “My proposal started as a fire safety bill, but with the help of House Education Chairman Rita Allison and other members of the House and Senate, we crafted a stronger bill. This is an important step in our ongoing mission to keep our children safe while they learn.”