Ballistic glass could be required for new school buildings if a new legislative bill becomes law.

New school entryways may be required to use ballistic resistant glass 

Jarek RutzGovernment, Headlines

Ballistic glass could be required for new school buildings if a new legislative bill becomes law.

Ballistic glass could be required for new school buildings if a new legislative bill becomes law.

The state legislature is looking for more ways to increase the safety and security of school buildings.

In Wednesday’s Senate Education Committee meeting, a look at the entryways of buildings and how schools – especially new ones or those making upgrades – could be safer was the heart of a new bill.

Senate Bill 279, sponsored by Sen. Jack Walsh, D-Wilmington, requires that when a new school is constructed or a major renovation is undertaken, the construction or renovation must include certain safety features.

These include a secured vestibule and the installation of ballistic resistant glass in certain areas of the school. 

Under the bill, the school district and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security would engage before a certificate of necessity is submitted, which is a document asking for state money to complete capital projects and improvements.

This will ensure the safety requirements are met and allow school districts to have a better idea of how much money is needed to successfully complete the project without having to later reallocate funds from another source. 

Schools undergoing a major renovation if the certificate of necessity is submitted before the enactment of this bill would be exempt from the bill’s requirements.

If there is disagreement about a construction plan’s compliance with school safety requirements, the school district may request an additional review be conducted by the secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security

The secretary would review the construction plans and make the final determination about the construction plan’s compliance. 

There wasn’t much discussion, and all senators seemed to appreciate and support the bill, especially with the number of school safety concerns over the past couple of years.

Senate committees do not hold a public vote, so the outcome of the bill can be found on the bill-tracker of the General Assembly website, typically within a few hours.

If released by the committee, SB 279 will make its way to the Senate floor for debate.

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