People attend a candlelit memorial service for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
Photo: Greg Lovett/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Greg Lovett/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Under the Ga. Gold Dome today: shielding schools from killers, sex predators

Two bills to be heard under the Georgia Gold Dome today try to keep schools safe from mass murder and sexual predation.

Senate Bill 15 seeks to fortify public and private schools by mandating safety plans for radiological incidents, terrorism and other mayhem. It would establish funding for surveillance devices, metal detectors, alarms and other security equipment, create tax breaks for current or former military members, police or firefighters who volunteer as "safety coaches" and authorize the use of records from schools, police and the state to create curated "student profiles" that can be scanned for threats. 

The House of Representatives, meanwhile, has its own legislation to keep schools safe, in this case from sexual abuse. House Bill 43 seeks a clearer prohibition against teachers having sex with students and clarifies other inappropriate behavior with them, such as the "lewd exhibition of the unclothed genitals," "flagellation or torture" while nude and "defecation or urination for the purpose of sexual stimulation." The bill addresses the power differential between teachers and students who may technically be old enough to consent but are considered incapable of consent under the circumstances.

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The hearing for SB 15 comes less than a week ahead of the Sunday anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

HB 43 will get a hearing as the nation continues to reel from allegations of sexual abuse by powerful men.

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