Interim legislative hearings examine school safety as new funds flow to resource centers
School safety continues to be a focus of the state legislature following several high-profile incidents of school violence in Colorado and across the country. Last month, Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee approved a supplemental funding request for the state’s School Safety Resource Center (CSSRC) submitted by Gov. Jared Polis. The approved request will use $327,000 in cash funds to hire four additional field staff for the CSSRC; these staff will train schools around the state in how to conduct threat assessment processes. The CSSRC already has six staff members who deliver trainings to districts, and the addition of four employees will allow trainers to better reach Colorado’s rural districts. While the CSSRC has delivered over 1,000 training sessions on various school safety topics since its creation in 2008, requests specifically for threat assessment training have increased substantially in the last two years.
Legislators will also examine school violence and safety this summer via the School Safety Interim Committee. At the first meeting of the School Safety Interim Committee this Thursday, the Children’s Campaign presented our body of research on evidence-based interventions that create and maintain safe school environments. We outlined four intervention strategies that have delivered promising results in preventing youth violence: in-school mental health services, positive school climate work, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines. Committee members also heard from Legislative Council Staff on existing Colorado law pertaining to school safety, several state agencies currently conducting school safety programs, school security personnel, and Colorado parents, students and teachers.
The Children’s Campaign has been engaging in school safety research and following this issue closely since 2018, and we will continue to do so. Read through some of our previous work below, and stay tuned for more updates on school safety in Colorado this summer and fall.