TRENTON – An Assembly panel today approved legislation Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Cleopatra Tucker sponsored to see if using veterans in school security positions would prove beneficial.
The bill (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 bill, we will get a chance to see if this proves helpful, and if so, we can then expand it statewide.”
The bill directs the commissioner, in consultation with the Attorney General, to establish policies and procedures for the recruitment, selection and training of veterans eligible to participate in the program, and for matching selected veterans to security jobs available 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,” Sumter said. “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.
“When selecting the pilot school districts, the commissioner will consider the security needs of the district as reflected in data reported in the commissioner’s annual report on violence, vandalism, and harassment, intimidation, or bullying in the public schools,” Tucker said. “Let’s do this right to see if it truly works.”
The bill 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.
The bill was released by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee chaired by Tucker.
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