Relates to alerting all public and non-public schools of the state in the event of a general threat of a terroristic nature against a single, multiple or all of the schools of the state; requires the school safety team to designate an individual to notify the education department in the event the school district receives a general threat of harm against any school or schools within the district or anywhere in the state.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to alerting all public and non-public schools of the state in the event of a general threat against the schools of the state
PURPOSE: This bill directs the commissioner of education to notify all public and nonpublic schools of any general threat of harm made against a school or schools.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill adds a new section 319 of the education law requiring the commissioner of education to notify all public and nonpublic schools of any general threat of harm made against single, multiple or all schools of the state. Further, the commissioner shall maintain updated contact information for all nonpublic schools in the state and shall develop additional protocols necessary to ensure timely notification to public and nonpublic schools when a threat is received.
Section 2 of the bill adds a new subdivision 3-a to section 2801-a of the education law to require the school safety team to designate an individual to notify the State Education Department in the event the school district receives a general threat of harm against any school or schools within the district or anywhere in the state.
JUSTIFICATION: On January 23, 2003, the New York State Police were informed by Arkansas police officials that a general threat of a "Columbine-type" shooting spree had been made in an Internet chat room that would take place that day in an unspecified New York State school. Upon notification, the NYS Education Department issued a statewide warning of school violence to all the public school districts across the state.
Many public schools in response, decided to put in place their emergency response plans and "locked down" their buildings; some canceled after-school activities as a precaution, or were on heightened alert. Unfortunately, many nonpublic schools were not made aware of the general threat and therefore went about the day in their usual fashion. Some nonpublic schools did receive notification if they were affiliated with certain organizations that were notified.
While the State Education Department had a plan in place to notify public schools, there is no such plan for the notification of nonpublic schools. One of the problems that came to light after this event, was the Department does not have a listing of all nonpublic schools. Only those nonpublic schools registered with the Department are known entities. Therefore, the Department did not have the capacity to notify many nonpublic schools. Administrators at these schools did not learn of the situation until they read it in the newspaper or heard it on their local news station.
Consequently, this bill seeks to address this situation by requiring the Department to develop a protocol for notifying both public and nonpublic schools, in a timely fashion, of a general threat of harm against a school or schools. In our current climate, threats do need to be taken seriously and all students need to be protected to the extent possible. However, schools cannot take appropriate precautions
unless they are duly notified of a threat. Nonpublic schools can be a target as can be a public school. It is important that a system be established to allow for timely notification of all schools in New York State, public and nonpublic, when a general threat of harm is made.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.4597 of 2003/2004; Referred to Senate Education Committee S.111/A.1817 of 2005/2006 Referred to Senate Education Committee S.103 of 2007/2008; Referred to Senate Education Committee S.314/A.818 of 2009/2010; Referred to Education
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 172 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. MAZIARZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to alerting all public and non-public schools of the state in the event of a general threat against the schools of the state THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 319 to read as follows: S 319. SCHOOL SAFETY ALERT. THE COMMISSIONER OR HIS OR HER AUTHORIZED DESIGNEE SHALL DESIGNATE AN INDIVIDUAL TO RECEIVE INFORMATION RELATING TO A GENERAL THREAT OF HARM MADE AGAINST A SINGLE, MULTIPLE OR ALL OF THE SCHOOLS OF THE STATE. FOLLOWING THE RECEIPT OF SUCH INFORMATION, THE COMMISSIONER OR HIS OR HER AUTHORIZED DESIGNEE SHALL NOTIFY ALL PUBLIC AND NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE STATE OF THE THREAT. THE COMMIS- SIONER OR HIS OR HER AUTHORIZED DESIGNEE SHALL MAINTAIN UPDATED CONTACT INFORMATION FOR ALL NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS LOCATED WITHIN THE STATE, AND SHALL DEVELOP ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL TO ENSURE TIMELY NOTIFICATION PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. S 2. Section 2801-a of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 3-a to read as follows: 3-A. THE SCHOOL SAFETY TEAM SHALL DESIGNATE AN INDIVIDUAL TO NOTIFY THE DEPARTMENT, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION THREE HUNDRED NINETEEN OF THIS CHAPTER, IN THE EVENT THAT THE SCHOOL DISTRICT RECEIVES INFORMATION RELATING TO A GENERAL THREAT OF HARM MADE AGAINST A SINGLE, MULTIPLE OR ALL OF THE SCHOOLS OF THE STATE. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01367-01-1