Rep. Kevin Parker’s legislation could prevent tragedy and empower kids
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Avoiding tragedy and empowering kids is the goal of legislation being considered in Olympia. It's been introduced by a survivor of the Columbine shootings, who is now a Washington legislator. Ruth Johnson reports from Olympia.
Johnson: Kevin Parker understands loss and uncertainty.
Parker: “Whenever you taste of significant level of pain, or you taste of a tragedy you tend to live a little differently, you tend to live life a little more deliberately.”
Johnson: Parker, now a Republican House member, was 25…visiting Columbine High School, when two students opened fire. Twelve teenagers died, a teacher was killed. 21 people were injured.
Parker is pressing for legislation that would empower kids to report danger, ask for help before tragedy happens.
Parker: “It empowers them to pay attention because you might be the one to stop a school shooting at your school and you might be one to save your friend's life because of something you have heard.”
Johnson: His Student Protecting Students program would create a specialized hotline.
Parker: “This sets up a system they can utilize 24 hours a day and someone will pick up on the other end.”
Parker: “Notice we are not taking anything away from kids, anything from teachers. On the contrary, we're giving them another communication channel.”
Johnson: It's a channel that would come under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The concept is patterned after a similar program put into use in Colorado after the Columbine shootings.
House Bill 2823 now goes to the rules committee, where it becomes eligible for a full House vote.
Ruth Johnson, Olympia.
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