2024 Public Comment / HB 84

Updated: 4 months ago
Public Policy

February 1, 2024
Nate Crippes / Public Affairs Supervising Attorney
Andrew Riggle / Public Policy Advocate
(801) 363-1347 / (800) 662-9080

Good afternoon committee members. My name’s Andrew Riggle. I’m the Disability Law Center’s public policy advocate.

20% of youth live with a mental health condition. Half of adults living with mental illness experienced onset by 14. A student with a disability is twice as likely to be suspended from school as a student without a disability. Individuals with disabilities make up only 12% of the student population, but 25% of all arrests. Almost ¾ of youth involved in juvenile justice systems have mental health conditions.

Media reports also estimate that 1/3-1/2 of all those killed by law enforcement had a disability. Some put it even higher, at 60-80%. The Harriet Tubman Collective names at least 18 victims.

Because of these numbers, the DLC appreciates HB 84 requiring former law-enforcement officers to have completed SRO training and guardians some degree of de-escalation training. We are also grateful to Representative Wilcox for adding disability and mental health awareness to the training required of school guardians and private security guards.

Even though it’s not entirely within the purview of this bill, we remain concerned more guns in schools will lead to more predictably harmful outcomes for students with disabilities.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our perspective.