School safety planning OK’d

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The Louisiana House advanced legislation that would update school crisis response plan requirements.

The House voted 86-0 for the measure developed in the wake of a deadly Connecticut elementary school shooting.

House Bill 718, sponsored by state Rep. Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville, would add shootings to the incidences of violence a school response plan should address.

School principals would have to prepare a plan jointly with local law enforcement, fire, public safety and emergency preparedness officials under the legislation. A safety drill to rehearse the plan must be conducted within the first 30 days of each school year.

Hensgens said although schools have plans over 50 percent had not practiced them or brought law enforcement in.

State Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, got the House to approve an amendment to include safety planning in non-public schools.