Lawmakers in the Missouri House approved a public safety bill on Monday that would fortify school security measures throughout the state.
The legislation, which passed on a 116-10 vote, includes a plan to provide bullet-resistant doors and windows, as well as bullet-resistant glass “for each exterior window large enough for an intruder to enter,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Missouri School Boards’ Association applauded Gov. Mike Parson’s efforts to enhance school security, calling his actions a step “in the right direction.”
However, Democratic opposition criticized Republican legislators for focusing on school security upgrades rather than access to firearms.
Installation of security measures would start during the 2024-25 school year and continue through its completion as part of the Classroom Trust Fund, according to a summary of the legislation.
In addition to $20 million of previously approved funding towards school security upgrades, the Post-Dispatch reported the state signed a $3.4 million contract with Texas-based Raptor Technologies to purchase an app that informs officials of emergency situations.
Lawmakers have pushed for increased safety following a school shooting at Missouri’s Central Visual and Performing Arts High School last October, as well as the recent shooting at Covenant School in Nashville.
MO safety officials were praised for their response to the October shooting, as police arrived on the scene and eliminated the threat within 14 minutes of being alerted.
Their response time was almost identical to the one in Tennessee’s shooting, where three children and three adults were murdered by Audrey Hale. Security measures at Covenant School were breached when the perpetrator shot through locked glass doors.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee recently signed a law permitting private schools to contract with local law enforcement and provide an option to hire resource officers, according to the Associated Press.
Tennessee lawmakers are also exploring additional security measures, including securing windows and glass in school buildings as well as adding magnetic locks on doors.