ATLANTA — Governor Brian Kemp released his list of vetoes and among them included a bill aimed to enhance school safety.
Senate Bill 15, or the Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act, a Republican-sponsored bill, was passed and sent to Kemp’s desk, but the governor vetoed it due to concerns from the education world.
The bill called for threat assessments taken at each school and mandated annual safety drills at schools. It also allowed for school safety coordinators.
The bill also allowed for funding for metal detectors, alarms, and other security equipment. In addition, it would have authorized the use of records from schools and police to create “student profiles” that would be scanned for threats. Guns were also not addressed in the bill much to the disappointment of Democrat leaders.
In a message explaining why he vetoed the bill, Kemp said SB 15 is a well-intentioned piece of legislation, but it included too much state government intrusion into local school districts and certain parts were left unfunded.
Kemp wrote, the bill “undermines local control, generates an unfunded mandate for school safety coordinators, and places a ministerial duty on school administrators, increasing their exposure to legal liability.”
The governor added the state’s budget allocated $69 million in school security grants to public schools to use as they see fit. If SB15 were passed, it would force school districts to use the money for state requirements instead.
Senator John Albers who sponsored the bill said in a statement to 11Alive, "I am profoundly disappointed and pray this is the #1 priority of the next legislative session."
Kemp, who said he was a firm believer in local control in education, also vetoed House Bill 83 that would have mandated all elementary schools have recess every day. Kemp said he vetoed this bill because it would dramatically restrict local boards of education from establishing their own recess policies.
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