State legislators want to bring “school safety coaches” into our schools—but these coaches are former military or law enforcement, not mental health professionals.
Call or email:
District 46: Sen. Bill Cowsert: email@example.com or (404) 463-1366
District 47: Sen. Frank Ginn: firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 656-4700
And the bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Albers: email@example.com or (404) 463-8055 (Sen. Albers also heads up the Public Safety committee, which is where the bill is now. Neither Cowsert nor Ginn sits on that committee, so they may not be familiar with the bill yet)
Make sure to tell your friends in other districts to call their state legislators, too. Don’t know who your legislators are? Find out here.
Senate Bill 15 (the Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act) says it’s about increasing student safety, but instead of funding research-backed discipline measures or increasing students’ access to counselors, it establishes new positions called “school safety coaches,” volunteers who are defined as “former members of the armed forces, a law-enforcement agency or a fire department.” Multiple studies have found that the presence of police officers in schools does not make students safer, like this one from the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan think tank. For example, cops are disproportionately assigned to schools with more minority students and their presence may actually increase disciplinary actions. Senate Bill 15 accounts for physical security needs of school buildings, such as video cameras, metal detectors and building access controls, but does nothing to address the mental health and safety of the students inside. It also provides federal funding to private schools in its current form. And the kicker? The people who serve as “school safety coaches” are exempt from paying property taxes to benefit the local public schools!
Personalized calls are more effective than multiple calls reading the same script, so express your personal feelings frankly! Here is an example script that you can build off of or use:
Hello, My name is [NAME], calling from [CITY].I’m calling today because I do not want you to support SB 15 (the Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act). We need to give our schools flexibility in determining their safety needs, but placing a former military or police officer in a school is not the best solution. This bill assumes former military, police or firefighters know the best safety procedures of a school without addressing the need for additional counselors or mental health professionals—who are often the first line of defense. Thank you for the chance to share my concerns.
Feel free to modify the script, depending on whom you’re calling.
Please contact your legislators TODAY.
TELL THEM: Our schools need flexible options, not orders from lawmakers!
Thanks for caring,
Legislative Action Network Athens for Everyone
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