State law requires SROs to complete specialized training to meet the safety needs of the school environment.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-2-1185. School safety plans; drills
(a) Every public school shall prepare a school safety plan to help curb the growing incidence of violence in schools, to respond effectively to such incidents, and to provide a safe learning environment for Georgia's children, teachers, and other school personnel. Such plan shall also address preparedness for natural disasters, hazardous materials or radiological accidents, acts of violence, and acts of terrorism. School safety plans of public schools shall be prepared with input from students enrolled in that school, parents or legal guardians of such students, teachers in that school, community leaders, other school employees and school district employees, and local law enforcement, juvenile court, fire service, public safety, and emergency management agencies. As part of such plans, public schools shall provide for the coordination with local law enforcement agencies and the local juvenile court system. School safety plans shall include, at a minimum, the following strategy areas:
- (1) Training school administrators, teachers, and support staff, including, but not limited to, school resource officers, security officers, secretaries, custodians, and bus drivers, on school violence prevention, school security, school threat assessment, mental health awareness, and school emergency planning best practices;
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-8-5 Law enforcement powers of school security personnel in each public school system of the state; certification; carrying of firearms or weapons
(a) In each public school system in this state, school security personnel employed by the board of education of a county or an independent board of education of a municipality for the various public schools thereof who are certified pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section and who are authorized by the board of education of that county or the independent board of education of that municipality shall have the same law enforcement powers on school property, including the power of arrest, as law enforcement officers of that respective county or municipality.
(b) As a condition precedent to the exercise of law enforcement powers pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section, school security personnel must be certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standard and Training Council as having met the qualifications and having completed the basic training requirements for a peace officer under Chapter 8 of Title 35. The certification of school security personnel by the Georgia Peace Officer Standard and Training Council does not require that such security personnel exercise the powers provided in subsection (a) of this Code section.
(c) The provisions of this Code section shall not prohibit a board of education of a county or an independent board of education of a municipality from employing school security personnel without law enforcement powers.
(d) School security personnel who are certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standard and Training Council may be authorized by a local board of education to carry a standard issue firearm or weapon generally used for law enforcement purposes for the purpose of carrying out law enforcement duties.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 35-8-27. Training requirements for school resource officers
(a) It is the best practice for any person assigned or appointed as a school resource officer to successfully complete a training course for school resource officers approved by the council.
(b) For purposes of subsection (a) of this Code section, the council shall maintain a training course consisting of 40 hours of training for school resource officers. Such training course shall, at a minimum, provide training in the role of a peace officer assigned to an elementary or secondary school, search and seizure in elementary and secondary schools, criminal offenses, gang awareness, drug awareness, interviews and interrogations, emergency preparedness, and interpersonal interactions with adolescents, including the encountering of mental health issues.