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

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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.