Hogan Unveils School Safety Initiatives

With the memory of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, still fresh, Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday revealed new efforts to enhance school safety and to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.

“There is no more important job than keeping our citizens safe – especially our children,” Hogan said in a news release. “Classrooms should never be a place of fear for our children. No mom or dad should ever have to worry when they send their kids off to school whether their son or daughter is going to come home safely.”

Hogan proposed:

  • $125 million more to accelerate and enhance safety improvements in schools, including secure doors and windows, metal detectors, security cameras, panic buttons, and other capital improvements
  • $50 million more in operating funds each year for new school safety grants, which could be used for school resource officers, counselors, and additional safety technology.
  • emergency legislation to create Maryland’s first statewide school safety standards, including required training and certification for all school resource officers and security staff.

The funding would come from Hogan’s proposed “lockbox” for education funding. Announced two weeks ago, the lockbox would take casino revenue and supplement, rather than supplant, existing state money for education.

On Friday, the governor will offer a supplemental budget that provides $5 million more for the Maryland Center for School Safety, a 600 percent increase. The center will use the money to hire analysts and social media trackers, allocate staff in more regions of the state, and assist schools with conducting the mandated safety assessments.

To prevent, prepare for, and respond to threats all across the state, Hogan announced that he signed Executive Order 01.01.2018.08 directing all state agencies to develop and update internal procedures related to active assailant events.

To take immediate action to further restrict access to guns for individuals with mental illnesses or a violent criminal background, Hogan announced support for several targeted initiatives, including:

  • support for “red flag” legislation, which allows family members or law enforcement to petition the court for an order that would prohibit an individual from possessing firearms or ammunition if they were deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others.
  • federal action to institute a universal background check system.
  • support for legislation to strengthen and clarify current law to prohibit an individual convicted of domestic violence from possessing firearms.
  • support for legislation banning “bump stocks.”
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