Tuesday, May 13, 2008


COLORADO SPRINGS — Gov. Bill Ritter signed two school-safety bills into law today at the inaugural meeting of the Pikes Peak Region Safe Schools Coalition, including one measure that establishes a new Colorado School Safety Resource Center.
"Ever since the shootings at Columbine High School, I've been committed to improving school safety for our students, their families and our teachers," Gov. Ritter said. "That commitment only deepened after the shooting at Platte Canyon High School.
"No child, no parent and no teacher should ever have to endure that kind of terror or horror again," Gov. Ritter added. "We owe our children the basic right of a safe school."
The two bills signed today:   
Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. John Morse and Rep. Amy Stephens. The bill creates the Colorado School Safety Resource Center within the Department of Public Safety. The center will bring together experts from education, law enforcement, mental health and other disciplines. The center will serve as a clearinghouse of best practices and information, allowing schools and communities to collaborate as they establish individually tailored safety plans. The center will work with up to five pilot communities in the first year. Colorado joins about 20 other states with similar school safety centers.
"Senate Bill 1 strives to ensure the safety of our schoolchildren by gathering real world solutions and best practices from safe schools around the country," Sen. Morse said. "Our children are among our most precious resources; there can be no exception to their safety."
House Bill 1267, a companion measure to SB 1, was sponsored by Rep. Tom Massey and Sen. Ken Kester. The bill requires the School Safety Resource Center to create a school-mapping pilot program for first-responders. In the event of an emergency, such a system will provide first-responders with access to electronic maps and other schematic information about school facilities. If the pilot is successful, the next step will be to examine whether it can be expanded to all 178 public school districts in Colorado.