Washington Senate Passes Bill Requiring Law Enforcement to Notify Schools of Potential Threats

Washington Senate Passes Bill Requiring Law Enforcement to Notify Schools of Potential Threats

Senate Bill 5514 requires that all schools, public and private, be notified when the possibility of violence calls for evacuations or lockdowns. Local law enforcement would be required to determine if local schools are threatened and to notify them.

The Washington State Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would require law enforcement authorities to notify all nearby schools in cases of violence.

Senate Bill 5514 requires that all schools, public and private, be notified when the possibility of violence calls for evacuations or lockdowns. Local law enforcement would be required to determine if local schools are threatened and to notify them.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mike Padden, the measure would help school officials better coordinate safety efforts with law enforcement.

“To ensure the safety of our schools, we need to make sure we have crisis plans in place,” Padden said. “The Legislature has done a great deal these last two sessions to ensure we are prepared, but notification must be a key element in any effective plan.”

In committee testimony, school officials recalled Seattle’s Café Racer shooting in 2012, after which police pursued the gunman across the city. A former private school principal remembered that they had to follow the news online and received no direction from authorities as to whether a lockdown was necessary.

“[…] We must be prepared to respond at any time, at any place,” Padden said. “Proper planning is the first step in preventing harm.”

The bill was approved unanimously by the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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