WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 News) Governor Gary Herbert ceremonially signed five education-related bills into law Wednesday during a groundbreaking for a new Utah elementary school.
The new laws were passed during the 2019 legislative session and address several education issues – with two specifically aimed at improving physical and emotional security as our schools.
Several times a day you will find Principal Tyler Howe out in the halls and watching over his students at West Lake STEM Junior High in West Valley.
“As teachers, as principals, we are out constantly.”
Howe, who has been a principal for 10 years says the new laws and additional funds from the state will go along way toward security.
“Having more money for security – I think enables us to follow the plans we would like to see in all of our facilities.”
He says one specific goal involves more control of the student and public access.
“We do want to have one point of access for the security of everyone involved. So every person who comes into this building can be identified so we can know why they’re here and that they’re OK to be here.”
The bills which have now been signed into law by Governor Herbert don’t just cover physical security and safety. Twenty-six million dollars was approved to help the emotional well-being and safety of students through HB 373. The bill’s sponsor Representative Steve Eliason (R-Sandy) says the money will hire “…additional school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and school nurses.” He says it “also provides funding for school districts to partner with their local mental authorities.”
Bryce Dunford, the President of the Jordan School Board, says the money will be put to good use and benefit students in many ways.
“Emotional well-being emotional safety physical safety – very important in our schools. We continually ask ourselves what more do we need to do? What can we do?”
Here is more information about some of the bills:
- HB 120 School Safety Amendments – amended fire codes – added a public safety officer at the state of office of education
- HB 227 Computer Science Grant Act
- HB 260 Access Utah Promise Scholarship Program
- HB 373 Student Support Amendments – $26 million for school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses, etc.
- HCR 14 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging High Expectations for Students with Disabilities