SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -Senator Patrick J. Diegnan sponsored legislation to establish New Jersey School Safety Specialist Academy in Department of Education and require school districts to designate school safety specialist was signed into law by the Governor on July 21, 2017.
"Enhancing security measures can better prepare schools to respond to situations that threaten the physical safety and emotional well-being of students, so they can fully focus on their education,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “The prevalence of school shootings in this country has made it abundantly clear that schools need to be prepared to respond to safety threats that were unimaginable in the past; we owe it to students and the staff charged with their safety to give them the resources needed to protect themselves.”
The bill, S-2242 establishes the New Jersey School Safety Specialist Academy in the Department of Education. The purpose of the academy will be to serve as a central repository for best practices, training standards, and compliance oversight in all matters
regarding school safety and security, including prevention efforts, intervention efforts, and emergency preparedness planning. The academy will also provide, free of charge, ongoing professional development on national and State best practices, assume a lead role in setting the vision for school safety and security in the State, and provide a coordinated and interdisciplinary approach to providing technical assistance and guidance to schools throughout the State.
The academy will develop and implement a School Safety Specialist Certification Program.
The program will offer training free of charge to newly appointed school safety specialists in the areas of bullying, hazing, truancy, Internet safety, emergency planning, emergency drills, drugs, weapons, gangs and school policing, and any other areas deemed necessary. The academy will also offer annual training sessions for certified school safety specialists.
The bill directs a school district superintendent to designate a school administrator as a school safety specialist for the school district. The school safety specialist shall be responsible for the supervision and oversight for all school safety and security personnel, policies and procedures in the district, ensure that these policies and procedures are in compliance with State Law and regulations and provide necessary training and resources to school district staff in matters relating to school safety and shall also serve as the school district liaison with local law enforcement and national, State and community agencies and organizations in matters of school safety and security.