Touting his success this year authoring and leading passage of historic school safety legislation, Mississippi Attorney General candidate Mark Baker committed to making school safety a priority.
“My wife is an English teacher at Brandon High School; I am deeply connected to the issue of school safety. As I travel around Mississippi, I’m talking to more and more parents like me who are determined to be proactive when it comes to protecting our schools from violent threats,” Baker said. “I’m proud of the track record I have in the legislature toward protecting our children, and as Attorney General, I will continue seeking ways to deter and defend against anyone seeking to use our schools as a backdrop for violence.”
In this year’s legislative session, Baker (R-Brandon) authored House Bill 1283, the Mississippi School Safety Act, passed by both houses and due from the governor on March 30th.
“I want to thank Governor Bryant and Mississippi School Safety Task Force Chairman Marhsall Fisher for their leadership,” Baker added. Baker was appointed to the governor’s safety task force by Speaker Philip Gunn.
“The law establishes pilot programs for districts to develop curriculum to help students manage stress, handle anxiety, and build resiliency,” Baker continued. “School personnel will undergo training once every two years in mental health and suicide prevention.”
To complement school districts’ efforts, the Mississippi Department of Homeland Security will train and certify threat assessment officers. Threat assessment officers will evaluate and certify the safety of each school in Mississippi annually. In addition, the law raises the minimum grant to school districts for Student Resource Officers to $10,000. This framework of student safety is actively supported with periodic emergency drills. Finally, the School Safety Act empowers the Department of Homeland Security’s Fusion Center to identify potential threats on the agency’s statewide social media intelligence platform.
“At every opportunity, government should empower parents, teachers and local communities who’re trying to protect children,” Baker concluded. “If elected as Mississippi’s first conservative, Republican Attorney General, I’ll actively use my office to protect children and prevent school violence.”