TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Education Committee advanced a bill Thursday that would require school districts to submit their emergency communications policies to the state Department of Education for review.
The bill (A301) is sponsored by Assemblywomen Kim Eulner and Nancy Munoz.
“Keeping our students and school staff safe is priority number one for Nancy and myself,” Eulner (R-Monmouth) said. “We believe that school districts working with safety and security professionals is the best way to keep our children safe in school.”
Emergency communication plans should include both internal and external protocols for keeping students and staff, as well as parents, first responders and the media informed of incidents. The Department of Education would share those emergency plans with the Department of Homeland Security, the State Office of Emergency Management, and local law enforcement to ensure regulatory compliance and make recommendations to improve the policies.
Under the proposed bill, school districts would be required to submit updated plans to the State Department of Education every five years. A district involved in an emergency incident must review and update its policy immediately.
“Our education professionals are not only tasked with cultivating students’ minds, but tasked with keeping them safe while in school,” Munoz (R-Union) said. “It’s a responsibility Kim and I know they take seriously. We hope our common-sense legislation will prevent school tragedies we’ve seen elsewhere.”
The bill will go to the Assembly speaker for further consideration.