OLYMPIA – A bill designed to prevent school shootings or violence by creating a program modeled after the national Safe2Tell program is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Education Committee on Monday, Jan. 30. The hearing is scheduled for 1:30pm in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room A.
Representative Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, and sponsor of House Bill 1310, said the legislation would provide students with a safe, anonymous reporting system to a teacher or administrator about school safety, threats, or violence.
“Parents know that wave of fear, or that pit in their stomach they get when they hear about school violence. You instantly wonder about your kids and your schools,” said Manweller. “As a father of two children, I want to know my children will be as safe as possible when they go off to school. This approach focuses on prevention and could help ensure school safety across Washington state. It is already being used elsewhere.”
This bill is not new to Manweller or House Republicans. Manweller introduced the measure during a special session in 2015. Since it was introduced after the regular session, it didn’t gain much traction. Former State Rep. Kevin Parker introduced the bill last session. It was passed by the House Appropriations Committee with one “no” vote. It made it to the House floor calendar, but was never brought up for a vote by the full chamber.
Parker was a school volunteer and present at the 1999 Columbine school shooting.
“I am hoping the third time is a charm,” said Manweller. “This is really a nonpartisan issue. It is time we make sure our schools have a system in place that improves safety and prevents potential violent acts on our school campuses.”