Senate Bill 132, the Student Safety Accountability Act, was signed into law on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. According to Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, the bill received unanimous support from the Montana Senate and passed the Montana House 98-1.

“This is saying that students are a protected class,” Artnzen said. “This means that there is not an age of consent. When they are in the school environment, on their way to a school event, or chaperoned by anyone who has that badge of school authority, they are protected.”

School administrators are also required to report any student involved illicit activity they know about. The are required to report that information to law enforcement and school officials. Arntzen explains why this bill is so important.

“This is important for all of our students across our state,” Arntzen said. “It is exceedingly important that our policy makers and our Governor understand that school is a place for not just learning, but it needs to be a place for parents when they drop their students off at school, or when students walk to school, that it is a place of safety.”

Arntzen thanked Montana’s Legislators and the Governor for putting the safety of Montana students first this legislative session. She said she will continue working every day to protect student safety and keep predators out of Montana classrooms.