Legislators forming committee to focus on school safety

Panel to be named by June 1 in response to attack at STEM School

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Legislators are prioritizing school safety following the May 7 shootings at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

On May 17, members of the state House and Senate announced the pending formation of an interim committee focused on studying school safety in Colorado, according to a news release. The committee will look at issues related to school safety, mental health and the prevention of threats to students, staff and volunteers statewide.

Supporters of the committee include House GOP Leader Patrick Neville, of Castle Rock, and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker.

In the release, Holbert pointed out that 178 school districts in Colorado operate under local control, per state constitution.

“We also have voluminous state statute already on the books regarding emergency response planning and armed security in our public schools,” Holbert said. “This interim committee will begin its work by reviewing those statutes, the division of constitutional authority between school districts and state government, and then they will move forward on proposing solutions to better protect students.”

Neville pointed out what has been done.

“We began the process last year by providing financial assistance to schools to secure their facilities and fund trained personnel to enhance physical protection,” he said in the release. “We've also provided funding to enable professionals to come alongside students to assist with their personal needs should tragedy strike. We will do more.”

Two members from each caucus in both chambers will serve on the bipartisan committee, which will have the opportunity “to seek testimony from a wide range of experts to aid in their mission.” Members of the committee — who will be appointed by June 1 — will meet three times during the interim session and have the ability to recommend legislation.

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