Minnesota House Republicans unveiled a legislative package March 29 aimed at putting student safety first.

“The safety of our students is of prime importance to us and all citizens of Minnesota,” said District 16B State Representative Paul Torkelson of Hanska. “This proposal puts forward some really good ideas as to how we can make our schools safer and yet allow flexibility for local school officials to make the right choices to invest the money where they know it will do the most good.”

The legislators’ multifaceted approach includes more resources to meet the needs of students and schools statewide, which includes everything from hiring more school resource officers, student counselors and mental health professionals to making critical building security upgrades.

The following solutions are currently advancing through the public committee pro-cess and will be included in the larger proposal:

• School resources officers, student support personnel and other school security programs funded through increased Safe Schools revenue, including a minimum level of funding for small schools.

• School building security upgrades and expanded use of long-term facility maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systems. 

• School-linked mental health programing to ensure better outcomes for all kids.

• Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies.

• Suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress.

• School-based threat assessment teams established to assess, intervene and report threats facing students, teachers and staff.