Minnesota Lawmaker Proposes Crisis Intervention Bill for School Safety

Minnesota Lawmaker Proposes Crisis Intervention Bill for School Safety

“The goal is to be proactive in identifying the threatening behavior,” Senator Karla Bigham said. “A lot of times those behaviors are evident before a tragedy occurs.”

Minnesota Senator Karla Bigham has introduced a bill for early intervention in an effort to prevent another tragedy on school campuses. The bill would require every Minnesota district to create school safety assessment teams for campuses at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

“The goal is to be proactive in identifying the threatening behavior,” Bigham said. “A lot of times those behaviors are evident before a tragedy occurs.”

Bigham said the team would include school administrators, mental health and police. 

“Is there something else going on? How do we get the student help and services to resolve [that] kind of the behavior,” she said.

Bigham has proposed a budget of $300,000 for training the crisis intervention teams. Some districts have similar programs in place already, but Bigham said this bill would establish best practices state-wide.

Bigham collaborated with Cottage Grove Police Captain Randy McAllister on the proposed legislation. He told 5 Eyewitness News about the way teams identify threats. 

“We look at things like do [students] articulate some sort of grievance with the school or somebody at the school? Do they have ideation, are they thinking about violence? Are they sort of worshipping at the shrine of previous school shooters?” McAllister said.

The bill would require the team to report any threat posed by a student to the superintendent, who would then report it to the student’s parents. 

“Intervention runs the gamut,” McAllister said. “Law enforcement is an intervention but it's not the intervention typically used in these cases. There's a lot of things you can do to get somebody help way before you get to the point where you have to make an arrest.”

According to McAllister, help could include connecting students to mental health support, resolving financial problems or identifying a social services need. 

“What kind of things in this kid's life would tend to bring them back from violence, things like family relationships, religious views,” McAllister said.

A house version of the bill has been introduced as well. 

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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