On June 5, 2018, Gabriella Celeste offered written and verbal testimony to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee in support of HB318. HB 318 is focused on defining the qualifications and duties of school resource officers (SROs). The bill would ensure that all SROs are effectively trained and provides more clarity regarding the roles and expectations of SROs. Celeste offered her support for the bill, but also encouraged lawmakers to invest more in positive behavioral supports that can improve school climate. Research shows that school safety is improved when schools have a positive school climate that fosters strong connections between students and their schools. Celeste concluded her remarks by saying, “To the extent that HB 318 is intended to advance school safety, it is imperative that we strike a thoughtful balance between having a school that is safe, and also continues to be an inviting space for students to learn and grow. School climate and student behavioral supports are essential both as a matter of security as well as a matter of school connectedness and educational success, and as such should be prioritized in our public investments in school safety.”
HB318 was passed by the Senate on June 6 and included the SAFE Act. Senate amendments concurred by the House and bill is awaiting the governor’s signature.