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I_SchSafety_2019A 07/11/2019 09:00:07 AM Committee Summary

Date 07/11/2019
Beckman *
Gardner E
Gonzales X
Lundeen X
Sirota X
Van Winkle *
Fields *
Michaelson Jenet X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Time 09:00:07 AM to 04:18:27 PM
Place Old State Library
This Meeting was called to order by Representative Michaelson Jenet
This Report was prepared by Jessika Shipley
Hearing Items Action Taken
Call to Order and Introductory Remarks from the Chair Committee Discussion Only
Review of Existing Colorado Law on School Safety and Requested School Safety-Related Research Committee Discussion Only
Programs and Departments Addressing School Safety in Colorado Committee Discussion Only
Defining the Problem Committee Discussion Only
School Security Committee Discussion Only
Parents, Students, and Teachers Panels Committee Discussion Only
Open Committee Conversation and Defining Goals Committee Discussion Only

Call to Order and Introductory Remarks from the Chair - Committee Discussion Only

09:01:50 AM  
Representative Michaelson Jenet, chair, provided introductory remarks. She spoke about the need for the committee. Other members of the committee spoke briefly about school safety and the importance of enacting good public policy. Members of the public were encouraged to use the public comment portal on the committee's website to provide input.

Review of Existing Colorado Law on School Safety and Requested School Safety-Related Research - Committee Discussion Only

09:14:58 AM  

Elizabeth Burger, Jessika Shipley, and Aaron Carpenter, Legislative Council Staff, discussed the day's agenda and the committee charge, schedule, and bill limits (Attachment A). Ms. Burger addressed questions from the committee about bill sponsorship.

09:18:46 AM  

Committee members received a binder of information. Ms. Shipley discussed K-12 school shooting incidents in Colorado since 1977 using a map and data tables (Attachment B). Ms. Shipley and Ms. Burger responded to committee questions. Ms. Shipley next discussed school-safety legislation passed since the Columbine incident in 1999 (Attachment C). Ms. Shipley responded to committee questions about reports filed by school resource officers and building safety assessments.

09:27:05 AM  
Ms. Shipley continued to present on school safety-related legislation. Ms. Shipley responded to questions about the School Security Disbursement Program and the Claire Davis School Safety Act. She also responded to a question about limitations on sharing information when a student transfers to a new school.
09:35:25 AM  

Mr. Carpenter presented on school safety and mental health legislation in other states (Attachment D). The committee discussed mandatory reporting requirements. Mr. Carpenter responded to committee questions.

09:50:42 AM  

Ms. Burger presented on the relative safety of schools now as compared to when the Columbine incident occurred in 1999 (Attachment E). Ms. Shipley presented on youth suicide rates and gun violence in Colorado. Members of the committee commented on the presentations.

10:01:50 AM  

Mr. Carpenter discussed all of the public comment received through the day before the hearing (Attachment F). Representative Michaelson-Jenet discussed the design of the comment form. Ms. Burger discussed future updates about public comment that will be provided to the committee. Mr. Carpenter responded to a question from the committee.

10:07:29 AM  
Colleen Brooks, Senior Policy Specialist, National Conference of State Legislatures, came to the table to answer questions from the committee.
10:10:56 AM  
Ms. Burger summarized a list of additional research requested by committee members.

Programs and Departments Addressing School Safety in Colorado - Committee Discussion Only

10:13:08 AM  
Kevin Rants, representing the School Safety Resource Center (SSRC), spoke about the purpose of the SSRC and the services it provides in the state. He discussed the various events and services that are offered to schools in Colorado, and highlighted that training is available both online and in-person. He spoke about the various groups the center partners with to make robust resources available throughout the state. He responded to a question about threat assessments and training. He responded to questions about specific metrics related to the use of the SSRC. Further questions were asked about recommendations made in the wake of the Arapahoe High School shooting in 2013. Brad Stiles, representing the SSRC, spoke about work that has been done on threat assessments.
10:33:09 AM  

Lindsey Myers, representing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, spoke about the Violence and Injury Prevention Mental Health Branch, of which she is the chief. She listed the various functions and services of her branch, She discussed the causes of violence and suicide, including the use of the social ecological model for determining those causes. Her presentation provided information to support her discussion (Attachment G). She spoke specifically about risk factors and common protective factors. She further talked about evidence-based practices and public policy gaps and opportunities. She provided local resources for information. Ms. Myers responded to committee questions. She indicated that she would provide information about what it would cost to scale up the Sources of Strength program to more schools. She also responded to questions about evidence-based practices with regard to peer-driven programs. Further discussion continued between Ms. Myers and the committee.

11:13:42 AM  

Camille Harding, representing the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) in the Department of Human Services, spoke about the connection between school safety and behavioral health. She discussed how OBH appropriations are used to fund behavioral health programs in schools and communities. She talked about state activities that target the prevention of youth violence in schools. These include trauma-informed training and theory of change. Her slide deck provided much more information (Attachment H). She discussed various partnerships between OBH and other entities that work with youth and mobile response teams around the state. Ms. Harding responded to committee questions about school shooting responses and training offered to school personnel.

11:37:48 AM  

Misti Ruthven, representing the Colorado Department of Education, provided a handout to the committee that lists state and local resources for grant funding for safety, behavioral health, and social and emotional learning (Attachment I). She discussed a school climate grant from the federal government that is to be used to create a school climate framework within four school districts. She responded to questions from the committee about bullying as a trigger for suicide. Representative Michaelson Jenet thanked the entire panel and the committee recessed for lunch.

Defining the Problem - Committee Discussion Only

01:17:48 PM  

The committee returned to order. Sarah Barnes and Erica Maoatl, representing the Colorado Children's Campaign, provided their slide deck (Attachment J) and two handouts about creating safe school environments in Colorado (Attachments K and L). They began with a discussion of how safe schools are for kids. Ms. Manoatl indicated that the research community knows very little about school shooting events and how to stop them due to the relatively low numbers of such shootings. She provided data to show that nonfatal victimization of U.S. students in schools has decreased steadily since 1992. She talked about common settings for active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2013. Ms. Manoatl turned to a discussion about how certain experiences and exposures can make a young person more or less likely to engage in violent behavior.

01:38:30 PM  

Ms. Barnes spoke about which youth violence prevention strategies have shown results. These include in-school mental health services and behavioral interventions, positive school climate, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and threat assessment processes. In terms of the impact of physical security measures and school resource officers, Ms. Manoatl indicated that research does not exist regarding their effectiveness. Ms. Barnes discussed how Colorado has invested in school safety so far and what are some best practices in the field regarding policy. She provided a list of recommendations for improving the safety of students overall, but especially in schools.

01:52:17 PM  

Dr. Anne Williford, representing the National Association of Social Workers, Colorado Chapter, spoke about her professional background in the area of youth violence in schools. She discussed preventative approaches to reducing school violence. Her presentation slides provide more specific information (Attachment M).

02:04:01 PM  
Felicidad Fraser, representing the National Association of Social Workers, spoke about her experiencing working with high-risk students in schools. The members of the panel responded to questions from the committee.
02:24:35 PM  
Committee questions continued for the panel.

School Security - Committee Discussion Only

02:25:31 PM  

Chief Michael Eaton, representing Denver Public Schools, Deputy James Englert, representing the National Association of School Resource Officers, Dr. Katherine Kuhlman, representing Nicoletti-Flater Associates, and Chris Wilderman, Director of Safe and Sustainable Environments for Adams 12 School District came to the table as a panel to speak about school safety from a law enforcement and school official perspective. Chief Eaton began with a discussion of the current state of public policy on physical security, inclusive environments and communities, and evidence-based practices, especially for threat assessments.

02:35:33 PM  

Mr. Wilderman highlighted some things the state is doing right with regard to school security and safety. He directed the committee to a report on school safety produced by the Colorado Attorney General's Office ( He spoke about funding for school resource officers. Chief Eaton talked about some points to consider when developing law enforcement policy. Deputy Englert spoke about SRO training and supports. He indicated that there is inconsistent training among SROs in Colorado and suggested that all SROs should attend the basic training provided by the National Association of School Resource Officers.

02:45:01 PM  
Dr. Kuhlman talked about psychological impacts and supports. She stressed the importance of effective threat assessment teams that focus on the behaviors of the subject. Chief Eaton listed a number of next steps for the committee to consider in terms of public policy changes and partnerships. The panel responded to questions from the committee about training of school personnel in emergency response protocols. More discussion occurred about intergovernmental agreements and memorandums of understanding.

Parents, Students, and Teachers Panels - Committee Discussion Only

03:06:23 PM  

Ethan Reed, representing himself, testified about his experience with friends who were present during a school shooting. He also spoke about his experience during a school lockout during the spring of 2019.

03:12:01 PM  

Jack Begley, representing himself, spoke about his experience as a remote observer of the school shooting in Parkland, FL. He stated that he wants to see "common sense" gun legislation.

03:16:46 PM  
Sophia Henry, representing herself, talked about local control over the adoption of school safety plans. She stated her support for more information for students during incidents and more accessibility to mental health support in schools.
03:20:53 PM  

The panel responded to questions from the committee about the effect of drills on the emotional well-being of students.

03:27:44 PM  

Andrea Chavez, representing herself, talked about an active shooter drill that her son experienced. She stated her opinion that more mental health or social work services need to be available in schools.

03:31:26 PM  
Jessica Rowe, representing herself, spoke about the need for a statewide uniform policy that school districts adopt. She talked about her experience studying the 2013 Arapahoe High School shooting. She talked extensively about physical security measures.
03:40:21 PM  
Kelly Holly, representing herself, talked about her son's experience as a student at STEM School Highlands Ranch during the 2019 shooting. She mentioned the importance of teaching children about relationships and community-building.
03:46:00 PM  
Kayla Steele, representing herself, talked about her experience as a teacher and her opinions about how the issue of school safety should be addressed. She discussed the training she receives from her school district and the critical lack of mental health and social work services in schools.
03:53:58 PM  
Jennifer Martinez, representing herself, discussed the stress she has observed among the first graders she teaches and how difficult it makes the job of teaching. She reiterated the need for more mental health services in the schools.

Open Committee Conversation and Defining Goals - Committee Discussion Only

04:00:49 PM  
The committee discussed the need for more information about breaking silos and community-driven prevention models. Senator Gonzales expressed her desire to see information about how to bring existing support systems to scale in a way that does not overburden communities. Senator Lundeen wanted to understand more about the context for school violence and expressed his opinion that successful programs need to be leveraged. Representative Sirota talked about the patchwork of systems in Colorado that are applied inconsistently across the state. Representative Beckman discussed security threat assessments and best practices. Senator Fields talked about issues of bullying prevention and post-incident trauma response. Representative Michaelson Jenet made closing remarks.

04:18:27 PM   The committee adjourned.

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details