The Arizona Safer Schools, Safer Communities Plan
Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24)Minority Leader – Arizona House of Representatives
Too often, we hear terrible news reports of shootings in our country’s schools and public places. Some of these tragic events have even happened in our own state, most notablythe shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords that killed 6 people in Tucsonin January 2011. The numerous school shootings and recent murders of 20 children atSandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut have again demonstrated how vulnerableour children can be in a setting where they should always be safe and secure.The story is almost always the same when one of these horrific events unfolds: a personsuffering from mental illness takes deadly, high-powered weapons into a setting thatlacks the security to detect or stop the armed gunman before he can carry-out hismurderous intentions. It is past time that Arizona provides help to those whose mentalillness makes them a threat to themselves or others. We must work to prevent these typesof tragedies while aggressively protecting our children and community from the potentialdeadly consequences.The Arizona Safer Schools, Safer Communities Plan will:
Make school sites safer ($100 million total cost):
1) Triple the funding for the existing School Safety Program that funds on-campusSchool Resource Officers (SROs). Currently, this program receives about $8 million infunding. Under my proposal, it would receive $25 million annually (a $17 millionincrease), to allow more SROs to be placed on school sites.2) Create infrastructure within the Arizona Department of Education’s School Safety andPrevention Unit to coordinate statewide trainings and provide technical assistance todistrict, charter and private schools for emergency response planning and threatassessment. My plan would allocate $1 million annually for this work.3) Require each school district and all charter schools to conduct and update regularly aregular comprehensive threat assessment (if they haven’t already done so) and identifywhat is needed to provide adequate security at each of their school sites.4) Establish a school safety fund of $20 million that will provide competitive grantmoney to enhance school security measures and equipment based on the needs identifiedin the school site threat assessment and emergency response plan and training.5) Double the number of school counselors to help ensure there are more mental health professionals in the school setting to help identify children who may need services andintervention. The total approximate cost of my proposal is $62 million and this amountwill be phased in over 3 years to allow adequate implementation time.