(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter, Cleopatra Tucker and Robert Andrzejczak to determine whether using veterans in school security positions can prove beneficial has been signed into law.
The law (A-4072) directs the Commissioner of Education to establish a three-year pilot program to provide for the training and placement of veterans in school security positions available in school districts.
“Let’s see if we can increase school security by utilizing the skills of veterans,” said Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen). “Veterans who have served us ably and bravely can now put their skills to use back home protecting our children. This could prove beneficial to everyone.”
“This can be a win-win for everyone, especially considering the concerns about school security and also high unemployment facing our veterans,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “With this law, we will get a chance to see if this proves helpful and if so, we can then expand it statewide.”
The commissioner, in consultation with the Attorney General, must establish policies and procedures for the recruitment, selection and training of veterans eligible to participate in the pilot program, and for matching the selected veterans to schools security positions available in school districts. The law authorizes the Commissioner of Education to utilize the education and training program for security officers, or the training for safe schools resource officers and school liaisons to law enforcement to train eligible veterans for school security positions in school districts.
“The policies will evaluate the level of skills, training, experience, fitness and other qualifications deemed necessary for a veteran to serve in a school security position,” said Andrzejczak (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland), a U.S. Army veteran. “This will be done as strictly and sensibly as possible to ensure safety for everyone.”
A school district that wants to participate in the pilot program may submit an application to the commissioner in such form as required by the commissioner.
The commissioner will select up to 12 school districts from the northern, central and southern regions of the state for participation in the pilot program.
The law also directs the commissioner to submit a report to the governor and the Legislature three years following the establishment of the pilot program that contains information on the implementation, the effectiveness of veterans on safety and security and recommendations of the commissioner and adjutant general on continuing, expanding or modifying the program.
School districts selected to participate in the pilot program may include, but will not be limited to, Making Our Schools Safe Districts as designated under the Department of Education’s Safer Schools for a Better Tomorrow initiative.