Government

Reynolds convenes Iowa school safety review

Governor Kim Reynolds campaigns at Aurora Coffee Co. in Marion on Saturday, February 3, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Governor Kim Reynolds campaigns at Aurora Coffee Co. in Marion on Saturday, February 3, 2018. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — In the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, Gov. Kim Reynolds began a review Wednesday afternoon of school safety in Iowa with leaders of several state agencies.

Reynolds met with the leaders of the Departments of Education, Homeland Security & Emergency Management, Human Services and Public Safety on Wednesday afternoon to begin to determine “what’s working well, what some of the shortfalls are.”

“We’ll talk about who else we need to bring to the table,” she said at an informal news conference Wednesday morning.

Reynolds said she wants the agencies to “go through and look at what we’re doing, how we’re coordinating, how we’re communicating.”

The governor, who earlier this week participated with other governors in a meeting with President Donald Trump on school safety, warned against focusing too narrowly on any one solution.

“What happens if you get so focused on one thing, it shuts that conversation down and that should not be happening right now,” Reynolds said. Instead, “we need to keep that conversation open, and we need to look at things we can do right away and then we maybe need to take a look at things we need to do going forward.”

One thing some schools have done is conduct active shooter training, and Reynolds indicated she would like to see more schools do that.

She also supports schools having a single point of entry for the public as a safety precaution.

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Reynolds indicated an interest in so-called “red flag” laws that allow law enforcement to seize a person’s weapons for three days if there is credible evidence a person is a danger to themselves or others.

“We just have to make sure we have due process in place also,” she said. “I don’t think that that’s unreasonable.”

Iowa House Republicans on Tuesday rejected similar legislation, defeating an amendment that would have allowed extreme risk protection orders involving mental health issues.

The decision whether to arm teachers should be a local decision, Reynolds said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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