Manweller drops bill in special session to address school violence
In response to recent school shootings in Washington state, Rep. Matt Manweller has introduced a bill that focuses on preventing school violence by training students on what to look for on social media. House Bill 2254 would also set up an anonymous reporting system to a teacher or administrator.
“We need a way to combat school violence without getting sidetracked by a gun control debate. My approach focuses on prevention while respecting people's constitutional rights,” said Manweller, R-Ellensburg. “As a father of two children heading into the public school system, I want them, and all children, to be as safe as possible.
“The fact of the matter is, kids know when kids are having a hard time long before the adults do. Sometimes, teachers and administrators are the last to know. By then, it's too late. We need a system where students can feel safe reporting ominous, violent or suicidal social media posts to school officials without fear of social reprisal. My bill does that.”
Manweller introduced the legislation as a result of two school shooting in Washington state within the last eight months – the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting on Oct. 24, 2014 and the recent North Thurston High School shooting on April 27. The bill is modeled after Colorado legislation that was developed after the 1999 Columbine shooting. Colorado set up an anonymous tip line so students could report potentially harmful actions on Facebook or other social media.
“All too often we hear from classmates about disturbing posts on Facebook or Twitter after the fact. By then, it's too late. We need kids coming forward and alerting adults before someone brings a gun to school,” said Manweller.
The Legislature is currently in Day 6 of a 30-day special session. Manweller said he knows it is a long shot to get the bill through with short notice in a special session, but discussions need to start happening so they can get a reliable reporting system in place to prevent future school violence.
###Washington State House Republican Communications