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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 8, 2013

CONTACT: Ashley Wilson, Public Information Officer - (360) 786-776

Rep. Liz Pike - (360) 786-7812

Pike introduces bipartisan Safer Schools Act

House Bill 1788 would give school boards the option to utilize a new safety tool

Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, has introduced House Bill 1788 – the Safer Schools Act of 2013. The bipartisan legislation would allow school boards the option to utilize a new safety tool and protect students and teachers.

“In many of our public places, we have an armed security presence. In many of our schools, we do not. Those who want to harm our children know they can walk into some of our schools and meet little resistance. This makes our students and teachers vulnerable,” said Pike. “The Safer Schools Act would provide an option to school boards to improve the safety of their students while they are in school – based on the desires of their communities. It would also empower teachers and supplement local law enforcement in the event of a school shooting.”
House Bill 1788, which has eight Republican and two Democratic sponsors, seeks to prevent school violence. It would allow public school districts and private schools to adopt a policy authorizing employees to possess firearms on school grounds under certain conditions, as part of an adopted school safety plan.

“This would be an option, not a mandate. Some communities may embrace this added safety measure while other communities may not. It is not one-size-fits-all,” said Pike. “My first choice would be school resource officers in every school, but not all school districts can afford the high cost of this option. All schools should be safe. We need safety alternatives. The Safer Schools Act is an alternative.”

Employees of the schools who pursue the option provided under House Bill 1788 would first have to obtain a concealed carry license and then attend a firearms safety class taught by a certified instructor in order to possess a concealed firearm on school grounds. These individuals would be required to pay for their training and necessary equipment. No additional costs would be placed upon school districts that choose to participate, so money would stay in the classroom. Local law enforcement would also be informed as to which school employees were authorized to participate in the program.

The Safer Schools Act mirrors part of the Federal Flight Deck Officers program, which allows pilots and flight crew members to carry approved firearms. The national program has proven to be successful.

“I know most people, regardless of their political affiliation, believe in local control, empowering school districts and preventing school violence. The Safer Schools Act embodies these goals,” said Pike. “I encourage people to read past the headlines and learn more about this bill. Many people from across the state understand this solution and have shown strong support for it.”

House Bill 1788 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
www.houserepublicans.wa.gov
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