Bill Requiring Schools to Have Evacuation Plans Up for Senate Vote

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Just a day after a deadly shooting at a Florida high school, Iowa lawmakers discussed school shootings and how schools in the state should prepare in case of such an event.

A bill that would require schools to have evacuation plans in place was coincidentally on Thursday's calendar. Under the bill, which made it out of the Senate Education Committee with bipartisan support, Iowa school districts would have to establish security plans for active shooter situations.

“This was coincidence that it was the day before this terrible shooting in south Florida," State Senator Tod Bowman said.

The high school in Parkland, Florida appeared to have an evacuation plan.

“In today's age, educators and administrators and the safety of our school children depend on this training for their safety because of the world we live in,” Senator Bowman said.

The bill requires districts to work with law enforcement and emergency management to devise an evacuation plan that would keep students and faculty safe in the event of an active shooter or natural disaster. Those plans would be private information not shared with parents or guardians.

“We don’t really want that information out there because if there is an active shooter or something similar, it would give them the information of where these students and teacher would be going," State Senator Tim Kraayenbrink said.

Advocates at the Iowa School Safety Alliance said the bill still has a long way to go.

“There is an awful lot of work. There needs to be a fully collaborative process involved, and this bill doesn’t require much outreach outside of law enforcement and emergency management,” said Jane Colacecchi of the Iowa School Safety Alliance.

The goal is to have clear requirements for all Iowa schools on what constitutes an appropriate evacuation plan. If passed, the bill would require all districts to have a plan in place by June 30th, 2019. If your school district does not have a plan in place, click here for resources.