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School safety bill passes in Washington Senate amid day of shootings

Sen. Mike Padden. (Washington State Senate)

With all eyes on a school shooting in Florida and in the wake of a separate threat at a school in Everett on Wednesday, lawmakers in Olympia passed a school safety bill to address such tragedies.

RELATED: Everett student “couldn’t wait” for alleged shooting

“I’m pleased to see my colleagues unanimously support this common-sense bill to better protect all of our students,” said Senator Mike Padden. “Many times schools have to call law enforcement for information about emergencies when it should be the other way around.”

Senate Bill 6410 requires first responders to warn public and private schools in the region about incidents that would warrant a lockdown. It also creates two school safety centers — one in Eastern Washington and another in Western Washington. These centers will assist schools with resources for behavioral health, threat assessment, and suicide prevention. It also allows private institutions to contract with the public school safety centers.

“This bill would help increase safety in all schools, public and private, and it takes a proactive approach by requiring law enforcement to notify schools in these sometimes critical situations,” Padden said.

Padden, a Republican from Spokane Valley, is from the same community where yet another tragic school shooting took place in September — one boy was killed and three girls were wounded. The alleged shooter, 16-year-old Caleb Sharpe, is expected in court in May.

Padden’s bill is now in the House where it will be up for further consideration this session.

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