State law authorizes the placement of local law enforcement or security personnel and establishes clear guidelines and safeguards regarding the appropriate role of officers on school campuses.
2017 Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-805. Template minimum requirements.
At a minimum, the template prepared by the state-level safety team shall include:
- (1) The designation of an emergency response team;
- (2) Policies and procedures for communication with law enforcement officials, parents and guardians in the event of emergencies and incidents of or threats of violence;
- (3) Policies and procedures relating to school building security, including, where appropriate, the use of school resource officers, security devices or security procedures, and addressing, where appropriate, the use of the building by the public for events other than school activities and the impact the other use may have on building security;
- (4) Procedures for assuring that crisis response and law enforcement officials have access to floor plans, blueprints, schematics or other maps of the school interior, school grounds and road maps of the immediate surrounding area;
- (5) Procedures for coordination of the school safety plan with the resources available through the department of mental health and substance abuse services, the department of intellectual and developmental disabilities or a similar local agency to assure that the school has access to federal, state or local mental health resources in the event of a violent incident;
- (6) Appropriate violence prevention and intervention strategies such as:
- (A) Collaborative arrangements with state and local law enforcement officials, designed to ensure that school resource officers and other security personnel are adequately trained, including being trained to de-escalate potentially violent situations, and are effectively and fairly recruited;
Recommended Standard for the Eligibility, Qualifications and Training of School Resource Officers: Guidelines for Successful Partnerships between Schools Districts and Law Enforcement Agencies
These reccomended Standard describe the mportance of developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure the law enforcement agency and the school district understand the duties and responsibilities of each.
Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Act
"A memorandum of understanding exists when a school resource officer is assigned to a particular school building. The MOU designates the SRO's role within the school environment and their responsibilities during an emergency."
Tennessee Code Annotated 38-8-120. School policing.
A memorandum of understanding may be entered into between a chief of a law enforcement agency and a local education agency to provide school policing.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-4206. Policy authorizing school security officer to patrol.
(a) As used in this section, “school security officer” means an individual who is employed exclusively by the local school board or LEA for the purpose of:
- (1) Maintaining order and discipline;
- (2) Preventing crime;
- (3) Investigating violations of school board policies;
- (4) Returning students who may be in violation of the law, school board, or LEA policies to school property or to a school-sponsored event until the officer can place the student into the custody of the school administrator or the administrator's designee, the school resources officer, or the appropriate law enforcement officer; and
- (5) Ensuring the safety, security, and welfare of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors in an assigned school.
(b) Each LEA may develop and adopt, in consultation with the appropriate local law enforcement agency, a policy that authorizes a school security officer employed by the LEA to patrol within a one-mile radius of the security officer's assigned school, but not to exceed the boundaries of the assigned school's LEA.
(c) If an LEA adopts a policy pursuant to subsection (a) then the LEA shall file a copy of the policy with the appropriate local chief law enforcement officer.
(d) In patrolling the one-mile radius of the school, the school security officer shall:
- (1) Only patrol for violations of the law that involve minors, including truancy; and
- (2) Immediately notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency of any violation of the law if the school security officer reasonably believes the individual committing the act to be a minor.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-809. Policy authorizing off-duty law enforcement officers to serve as armed school security officers -- Memorandum of understanding -- List of qualified officers - Funding -- Report.
(a) For purposes of this section, “law enforcement officer” means the sheriff, sheriff's deputies, or any police officer employed by the state, a municipality, county, or political subdivision of the state certified by the peace officer Standard and training (POST) commission; any commissioned member of the Tennessee highway patrol; and any Tennessee county constable authorized to carry a firearm and who has been certified by the POST commission.
- (1) To increase the protection and safety of students and school personnel, local boards of education may adopt a policy authorizing off-duty law enforcement officers to serve as armed school security officers during regular school hours when children are present on the school's premises, as well as during school-sponsored events.
- (2) Nothing in this section shall require a local board of education to adopt a policy permitting an off-duty law enforcement officer to serve as an armed school security officer.
- (1) If a local board of education adopts a policy authorizing off-duty law enforcement officers to serve as armed school security officers, the LEA shall execute a written memorandum of understanding (MOU) with each law enforcement agency that employs the law enforcement officers selected by the chief law enforcement officer of the law enforcement agency to serve as armed school security officers.
- (2) Any MOU entered into pursuant to subdivision (c)(1) shall contain the following:
- (A) A provision that prescribes the types of firearms that may be carried by an armed school security officer on school premises and the manner in which the armed school security officer's firearm may be carried; provided, that the MOU shall not prohibit an off-duty law enforcement officer who is serving as an armed school security officer from carrying a loaded handgun on school premises;
- (B) A provision limiting the role of armed school security officers to that of maintaining safety in the school and prohibiting armed school security officers from addressing routine school discipline issues that do not constitute crimes or that do not impact the immediate health or safety of the students or staff of the school;
- (C) Provisions stipulating that off-duty officers serving as armed school security officers are required to follow the policies of the officer's employing law enforcement agency;
- (D) Procedures for communication among the LEA, armed school security officers, school resource officers, and local law enforcement agencies;
- (E) A description of any policies, procedures, or other requirements that the armed school security officers must follow when responding to an emergency on school grounds;
- (F) A statement requiring that armed school security officers comply with all state and federal laws regarding the confidentiality of personally identifiable student information;
- (G) Procedures for addressing complaints against armed school security officers;
- (H) A provision detailing how liability will be provided for any acts or omissions of the armed school security officer within the scope of the armed school security officer's duties, except for willful, malicious, or criminal acts or omissions or for acts or omissions done for personal gain;
- (I) A provision detailing how scheduling will be determined; and
- (J) The hours and wages of each armed school security officer assigned to a school in the LEA.
- (3) Any MOU entered into pursuant to subdivision (c)(1) may prescribe:
- (A) Whether an armed school security officer is required to be uniformed while on school premises; or
- (B) Other means for proper identification of the armed school security officer.
- (A) If a MOU entered into pursuant to this subsection (c) would permit law enforcement officers to serve as armed school security officers at a school that is located within the jurisdictional boundaries of another law enforcement agency that is not the law enforcement officers' employing agency, then the MOU shall not take effect until approved in writing by the chief law enforcement officer of the law enforcement agency with law enforcement jurisdiction for the school.
- (B) Notwithstanding title 6, chapter 54, part 3, or any other law to the contrary, a law enforcement officer who is serving as an armed school security officer pursuant to this section for a school located outside of the jurisdictional boundaries of the officer's employing agency shall, while acting within the scope of the officer's employment as an armed school security officer, have the jurisdiction and authority to enforce all laws of this state and of the county or municipality in which the school at which the officer is serving as an armed school security officer is located.
- (1) The chief law enforcement officer of each law enforcement agency in this state shall prepare and distribute a list of its law enforcement officers who the chief law enforcement officer deems qualified and who are interested in serving as armed school security officers pursuant to this section to each LEA that is located within the law enforcement agency's jurisdictional boundaries and with which a MOU has been entered into in accordance with this section. The chief law enforcement officer shall consider the federal Fair Labor Standard Act when considering an officer's qualification to serve as an armed school security officer.
- (2) The chief law enforcement officer of a law enforcement agency may prohibit a law enforcement officer employed by another law enforcement agency from serving as an armed school security officer at a school located within the chief law enforcement officer's jurisdiction for reasons the chief law enforcement officer deems sufficient, including, but not limited to, if the law enforcement officer has received a disciplinary action within the last five (5) years that resulted in, at a minimum, a written reprimand. The chief law enforcement officer shall notify any such officer the chief prohibits from serving as an armed school security officer by sending a written notice of the prohibition to the law enforcement officer and the law enforcement officer's employing agency. The law enforcement officer is entitled to compensation pursuant to this section for any service as an armed school security officer performed by the officer prior to receipt of the written notice by the earlier of the law enforcement officer or the law enforcement officer's employing agency.
(e) If an LEA adopts a policy authorizing the use of armed school security officers, then funding for the armed school security officers may come from a law enforcement agency or from the LEA, including, but not limited to, local, state, or federal funds received by the LEA, for which purpose such funds may be lawfully expended.
- (1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require an LEA or a law enforcement agency of the county to assign or provide funding for an armed school security officer.
- (2) Nothing in § 49-3-315 shall be construed to require an LEA or a law enforcement agency of the county to assign or provide funding for an armed school security officer as defined in this section to any school system within that county on the basis of the WFTEADA, as defined by § 49-3-302. The provision of armed school security officers by local law enforcement agencies shall be considered a law enforcement function and not a school operation or maintenance purpose that requires the apportionment of funds pursuant to § 49-3-315.
(g) The use of armed school security officers shall be supplemental to school resource officers and school safety measures adopted by an LEA and shall not supplant school resource officers or other school security measures. An LEA shall not replace a school resource officer or other school security measure with an armed school security officer. A law enforcement agency shall not terminate a MOU for the provision of school resource officers based solely upon an LEA's adoption of a policy authorizing the use of armed school security officers.
(h) Following the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, the chief law enforcement officer of each law enforcement agency with law enforcement jurisdiction for a school that has utilized armed school security officers pursuant to this section shall submit a report to the governor, the chair of the education committee of the house of representatives, the chair of the education committee of the senate, and the commissioner of education on or before September 1, 2021, that details any school security deficiencies and that provides recommendations for security improvements for each such school. If the report requirement of this subsection (h) affects more than one (1) law enforcement agency within any one (1) county, then the affected chief law enforcement officers shall submit a single, consolidated report covering the schools that have utilized armed school security officers pursuant to this section.