Colorado School Safety Committee Introduces Five Bills to Improve Safety
Colorado’s School Safety Committee pushed forward legislation that could better address students’ behavioral health needs. Lawmakers left guns out of the conversation largely for the sake of bipartisanship.
- By Sherelle Black
- November 05, 2019
Colorado’s School Safety Committee is hoping to get five bills in front of the General Assembly in January that are aimed at protecting children from school violence.
The five bills will do this:
- Provide students with excused mental health days
- Evaluate services available for children with severe behavioral health diagnoses
- Expand behavioral health training in schools
- Improve Safe2Tell
- Strengthen how agencies work together and communicate on school safety
The bills come after the state auditor released a report in September finding the state has uncoordinated efforts and gaps in school safety programs.
In general, the auditors concluded the programs are not centralized and there is no consolidated information about the programs, including their purposes.
While the bills address mental and behavioral health, none of them address the use of firearms by students.
The Colorado Sun reported at the tail end of Thursday’s meeting to move the five bills forward, a few lawmakers, including Sen. Rhonda Fields, raised the need to bring guns into the discussion.
“We do need to make sure that we talk about guns because that’s what we’re here about, and we haven’t had a chance to dig into that very hot topic,” the Aurora Democrat said, noting she’s hopeful that at some point a working group the committee is trying to assemble will make sure that “a gun never, ever enters our schools.”
Leaving guns out of the committee’s conversation was intentional, said chairwoman Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a Democrat from Commerce City.
“Unfortunately, firearms is an exceptionally partisan issue,” she said, “and there is a very big divide in how the left considers firearms safety and how the right considers firearms safety.”
Sherelle Black is a Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.