West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise is setting up a statewide school safety hot line, despite the Legislature’s failure to fund the program.
Wise had proposed establishing a 24-hour hot line in his State of the State address. The Legislature took no action on the bill.
Since lawmakers did not appropriate funding, Wise has decided to shift funds from the public education budget to the state fire marshal’s office to cover the hot line’s costs, Bill Case, Wise’s communications chief, said July 3.
Case said the hot line should be operational when students return to classrooms in September. It will be manned around the clock by the same staff that operates the statewide arson hot line.
Case said callers will hear a person when they dial the hot line, and not a recorded message. Under the current system, in which county school systems contract with companies to operate their hot lines, callers have to “work their way through the phone system,” he said.
In California, the Senate Education Committee voted 9-2 to send a bill to establish a similar hot line to the Appropriations Committee July 18.
Prompted by San Diego County school shootings last March, the bill would spend $750,000 to create a toll-free state hot line to report threats of violence anonymously.