State Review of School Security Nearly Complete


Students across Shelby County walked out earlier this year to protest gun violence in schools. - SHELBY COUNTY SCHOOLS/FACEBOOK
  • Shelby County Schools/Facebook
  • Students across Shelby County walked out earlier this year to protest gun violence in schools.

A statewide assessment of the security of Tennessee schools is almost complete and $35 million in grant funds are available to help schools "address vulnerabilities and risks."

Governor Bill Haslam said Tuesday that 1,796 schools, or 99 percent of the state's public schools, have been reviewed. The remaining 1 percent will be reviewed by the end of the month, he said.

The Tennessee General Assembly included $35 million in this year's state budget to help schools beef up their security measures. This includes $25 million in one-time funding and $10 million for ongoing safety and prevention programs. The money can be used for things like enhancing entry to and exit from schools, training and availability of school resource officers, and in-school mental health resources for students.

“All children in Tennessee deserve to learn in a safe and secure environment,” Haslam said in a statement Tuesday. “I am confident the significant work undertaken by our state and local officials as well as the funding to implement identified areas for improvement will serve to enhance the safety of our schools, educators, and students.”

Also, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is looking for a developer to create a statewide school safety application for mobile devices. The app would allow students, faculty, and staff to anonymously report "concerning or suspicious behavior" to law enforcement and school officials.

The moves to increase school security came after a shooter killed 17 in a school in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year.

Students in Shelby County protested school gun violence with a walkout in April. It was one of nearly 2,100 such walkouts across the country on the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School, where 13 people were killed.  

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