New Jersey allots $6.5M for school blueprints for responders
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is using $6.5 million of federal aid to help collect and digitize school blueprints for first responders, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday.
The American Rescue Plan funds will help the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the state police devise maps for about 1,500 schools public and private schools. An additional 1,500 schools already have such digital graphics available, according to the administration.
The maps are critical to help police and other responders react to emergencies in what could be unfamiliar environments, officials say.
“With the epidemic of gun violence reaching every part of our communities, including our schools, we offer our families not empty promises, but concrete investments in tools and resources that will keep our students safe,” Murphy said in a statement.
The announcement comes nearly a month after Murphy signed legislation requiring the state’s nearly 600 school districts to set up threat assessment teams aimed at stemming any violence in schools. The bill was introduced two days after the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting.
That measure goes into effect in the 2023-2024 school year.
The legislation calls for a “multidisciplinary” team that will include a school psychologist, counselor, social worker, or other school worker with similar expertise; a teacher; a principal or other senior administrator; a schools law enforcement officer or a worker who serves as a liaison with police; and the designated school safety specialist. The guidelines the teams are supposed to follow are to be set up by the state Department of Education in consultation with state law enforcement and Homeland Security officials.