DENVER, Colo. – Lawmakers are crossing party lines at the Statehouse to support a pair of bills, co-authored by leaders in both bodies, aimed at enhancing public school safety in Colorado.
SB15-213, which waives governmental immunity for cases involving school violence, is prompted by the ongoing plight of Michael and Desiree Davis, the parents of 2013 Arapahoe High School shooting victim Claire Davis, who have been battling to extract information on the murder from secretive school officials.
The second bill, SB15-214, creates a standing committee to study the role mental health problems play in school violence. The bill strengthens the hand of parents in holding public school officials responsible for negligent actions that endanger students.
Senate President Bill Cadman, who lit a candle of remembrance for Claire Davis on the opening day of session, believes these bills help fulfill his pledge to secure safer schools for Colorado students. “On top of everything else they worry about, parents shouldn’t have to fear for the safety of their kids when they go off to school each day,” said President Cadman. “These bills, while not a comprehensive answer to such a complex problem, will help improve our ability to anticipate and prevent future tragedies, while empowering parents to get the answers and remedies they need when public safety safeguards fail.”
“This legislation is important for all students, all parents and all public school officials, since we all have a common interest in ensuring the safety of our kids when they go to school each day,” added Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel. “We’re doing this not just to honor the memory of Claire Davis, but to honor the memory of all past victims of school violence by doing something meaningful to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”
“Students have a basic right to be protected on school grounds, and their parents deserve to have peace of mind when their children are in school,” said Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said, underscoring the bipartisan nature of the bills. “These bills will help to ensure the safety of every Colorado student.”
Both measures will first be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee.