Community stakeholders weigh in on proposed school safety bill

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Katey McPherson started a nonprofit with other moms called Project Connect 4 to combat teen suicide. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Katey McPherson started a nonprofit with other moms called Project Connect 4 to combat teen suicide. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Some want more school resource officers. Others want to arm teachers. Lawmakers are moving forward with their own school safety bill. 

The school safety bill, or SB1519, would give power to the STOP order -- Severe Threat Order of Protection. A relative, school administrator, or behavioral health professional could order a petition to get someone checked out if they’re believed to be a harm to himself or others. After evaluation, any firearms they have could be seized.

[RELATED: AZ Senate approves funding for school resource officers, House votes next]

"The problem with the bill is it little to nothing for real security," said Charles Heller with the Arizona Citizens Defense League

"It doesn’t address the issues, that if you really want to keep a bad actor out of the school, harden the school."

Heller said arming teachers could be a layer to harden schools. So could fortifying classrooms. But he said he’s glad to see there’s no mention of background checks or bump stock bans in this bill.

"Don’t look at the mechanism of injury, look at the person doing the evil," Heller said.

The bill also allows districts to train teachers in suicide prevention.

"Sometimes kids spend more time at school than at home and they open up in different ways," said Katey McPherson.

McPherson's kids go school in Chandler. She also started a nonprofit with other moms called Project Connect 4 to combat teen suicide. She said school safety is about recognizing warning signs.

"We’re looking at the overall umbrella of mental health and wellness," McPherson said.

The original plan called for $11 million for more school resource officers. That’s been cut to $5.5 million.

[SPECIAL SECTION: School in crisis]

The bill passed the Senate and goes to the House next.

The School Social Work Association sent us a statement with their thoughts about the bill. You can read it in full here:

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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