We Need to Hear From You!
As you know, a 2017 state law (P.L. 2017 c. 162) required the superintendent in each school district (and the lead administrator of charter schools and renaissance school projects) to designate an administrator as the School Safety Specialist for the district. As the law was passed, district superintendents and lead administrators are charged with identifying the administrator (one who holds an administrative certificate, per N.J.A.C. 6A:9-2.1) who will be designated. Responsibilities of the School Safety Specialist include supervising and providing oversight for all school safety and security personnel; ensuring safety and security policies and procedures are in compliance with state laws and regulations; and providing the necessary training and resources to school district staff in matters relating to school safety and security. The School Safety Specialist will also serve as the district’s liaison with local law enforcement, as well as national, state and community agencies and organizations, in matters of school safety and security.
School Safety Specialist Certification Training is underway this week at four locations throughout the state: East Rutherford (Bergen County), Phillipsburg (Warren County), Hamilton Township (Atlantic County), and Robbinsville (Mercer County). The School Safety Specialist training is a state-certificated course. All phases must be completed for a certificate to be issued. Therefore, any sessions or classes missed will have to be made up. A make-up session date(s) will be announced in the near future. For any questions regarding the SSS training program or requirements can be directed to the Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org or (609) 588-2323
Since the enactment of P.L.. 2017 c. 162, NJPSA has heard from a number of our members that the law as written is not always workable. Of particular concern was the requirement that the designee for the district SSS hold an administrative certificate. There were a number of districts where there was someone else in the building who was much better suited for this role, but because they did not hold an administrative certificate as described in N.J.A.C. 6A:9-2.1, they were unable to be designated.
As a result of this feedback, NJPSA sought a legislative fix. A-3765/A-2456, introduced April 5th, would permit a school district superintendent to designate either a school administrator or a school employee with expertise in school safety and security, as the school safety specialist for the school district. The Assembly Education Committee considered this bill on June 18th and the measure was passed unanimously by the committee. The bill can now be voted on by the full General Assembly, and similarly considered in the Senate.
If this legislation proceeds to Governor Murphy’s desk and is signed into law, local school districts will have flexibility in the selection of who to assign for this important role. School resource officers, individuals with security expertise and educators including administrators and non-administrators will be eligible for the school security specialist role and training.
NJPSA anticipates this legislation to be signed into law. We have developed a short survey to learn from you how this role is currently being filled in your district. Please take a moment to answer four brief questions to help us to best represent you: