Georgia Senate gives final OK to school safety drills
Gov. Brian Kemp’s school safety bill includes annual active shooter drills.
ATLANTA, Ga. (AP) - The Georgia Senate gave final approval Monday to a school safety bill pushed by Gov. Brian Kemp that includes annual active shooter drills, sending it to the Republican governor’s desk for his signature.
The Senate voted 52-3 for House Bill 147 after rejecting a series of amendments sought by Democrats on votes mainly along party lines.
The measure requires every public school to complete an active shooter drill by Oct. 1 of each year. Students would be required to participate, although districts could choose to allow parents to opt their children out.
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“This is a good bill. It promotes the safety of our children and our educational personnel,” said Sen. Mike Hodges, a Brunswick Republican who carries Kemp’s bills as one of his floor leaders.
Hodges said the bill is part of Kemp’s “commitment to keeping our students, teachers and schools safe.” The governor has emphasized fighting youth gangs and crime as his second term begins.
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One amendment that failed would have required districts to let parents exclude their children from the drills. The amendment’s supporters said the drills could traumatize students, especially students who may not understand what is happening.
“Research on active shooter drills show that active shooter drills make students feel unsafe, scared, helpless and sad, and their efficacy is sadly questionable,” said Sen. Elena Parent, an Atlanta Democrat.
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