Brown County’s emergency management director is feeling swamped. Scott Meints told the county commission yesterday that he and his sole staffer, Patti Woods, are putting 50- to 60-hour weeks due to growing state and local agreements. Among the complications to his day, said Meints, is having to work with school districts on state-maandated emergency management plans:
He said a new law requiring school districts to write and maintain an emergency management plan will require assistance from his office. There are seven school districts in Brown County, he said [Elisa Sand, “Pay, Staff Concerns Emerge at Brown County Commission Meeting,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.04.08].
New law? I riffle through this year’s hopper and find Senate Bill 89, a bill which would have required accredited school districts to develop school safety plans and conduct lockdown drills. SB 89 sailed through the Senate, but then Rep. Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Watertown) led an anti-mandate charge to kill that bill in the House on March 3. Wow—for a brief, shining moment, Janklovian nostalgia outgunned our Legislature’s crazed paranoia about school shootings. I’m glad it did: I’m still troubled by the idea of leading our kindergartners through exercises forcing them to visualize a criminal coming to their classroom door with a gun to kill them.
Brown County Emergency Management may have a lot on its plate. But as far as I can tell, no new law emerged from the 2015 Legislature to add school safety plans to that office’s agenda.