A school safety bill passed both houses of the General Assembly during last week’s special session.
S.709 requires every school district in South Carolina develop a school safety plan that includes fire, severe weather, and active shooter/intruder responses in the plan.
Lead sponsor State Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, told South Carolina Radio Network he believes it is important for local districts to retain their authority to develop a plan that fits their needs, but keeps them in line with state standards.
“A lot of districts already have safety plans in place,” he said. “But we want to ensure that every district has one.”
The state Department of Education, State Fire Marshal, and State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) will work ether to provide model policies to districts and will be available to assist in developing the district plans. Once established, the district safety plans will be subject to review and comment by the Department of Education.
“We want to help those districts develop a good one. We acknowledge that it’s not a one-size-fits-all,” said Hembree.
Hembree said he was surprised to learn that fire inspections were not required under current law. Senators also agreed with House language by State Rep. Marvin Pendarvis, R-North Charleston, to require schools plan drills around the possibility of an active shooter.