Senate Bill 5514 was signed into law Friday by Gov. Jay Inslee, requiring schools to be notified when violent incidents occur nearby. For several years WFIS has strongly advocated for private schools’ inclusion on this much needed policy and the state’s private schools offered strong support for the bill.
Sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, the bill requires law enforcement agencies and other first responders to notify public and private schools when there is a nearby security threat that could warrant a lockdown or evacuation. As remarked upon on Senator Padden’s webpage:
“In emergency situations, private schools often are overlooked. During committee hearings, private-school officials recalled the citywide chaos in 2012 as Seattle police launched a dragnet to capture the gunman in the Café Racer shootings. A former private-school principal said she had to follow the story as it developed by reading blog postings on the Internet, with no advice from authorities as to whether a lockdown was advisable.“
The new law allow schools to better coordinate their efforts with law enforcement. It passed both chambers by unanimous vote – 48-0 in the Senate and 92-0 in the House.
Present with Gov. Jay Inslee, left to right: Tim Hunt, director of communications and outreach for the Washington State Catholic Conference, Suzie Hanson, executive director of the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, Catholic Conference government affairs representative Luke Esser, Padden session aide John Jourdan, Sen. Padden and Padden session intern Dagny Ahrend.