The Delaware School Boards Association (DSBA) is a public education advocacy organization that represents the school boards of 16 of the 19 Delaware school districts. On behalf of our membership, the DSBA expresses our collective support for appropriate and effective efforts to protect our students and staff. School safety is one of the highest concerns of all school board members.
HB 49 seeks to improve school safety by requiring various measures in school construction. The DSBA membership tenders the following concerns regarding House Bill 49:
- The bill, as currently written, requires “bullet proof glass” in specified areas of a school. Bullet proof glass is not generic – there are various ballistic ratings associated with “bullet proof” glass. The bill, as written does not identify the intended required ballistics rating for the glass and as such, may lead building occupants to a false sense of security and reliance on glass that will not protect them as intended.
- Furthermore, The bill, as currently written does not address the ballistics rating of the door or surrounding wall structure containing the “bullet proof” glass, again potentially leading building occupants to a false sense of security and reliance on the door and wall system that will not protect them as intended.
- The bill, as currently written, requires door locks that can be locked with a key from both sides. We question the ability for such door locks to meet fire codes as well as the costs associated with such non-standard door locks.
- The bill, as currently written requires schools be equipped with an intruder alarm system that can be activated from the office. We support this aspect of the bill.
- The fiscal note associated with the bill is “undeterminable”. The DSBA questions supporting a bill for which we cannot determine the cost.
The DSBA membership asserts that significant improvements in school security can be achieved through access controls, operational controls, as well as intruder awareness training of students and staff. We also suggest that emotional/behavioral health screening and intervention will yield far greater and longer lasting benefits than “hardening” our school facilities. In the current fiscal environment of funding cuts and budget justifications, we contend that any funds available for school security and safety will be more effective as funding for improved emotional/behavioral health screening and intervention. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
John W. Marinucci, Ed.D
Executive Director, DSBA
February 22, 2018