Cassidy, colleagues introduce bipartisan school safety bill

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), was among several Senators who introduced the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act, bipartisan legislation to fund school security improvements and invest in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens.

“Schools and law enforcement need more resources to prevent violence and keep children safe,” Cassidy said. “Students should be focused on learning, not fearing for their safety. This bill makes schools more secure and saves lives.”

The legislation is supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and the Secure Schools Alliance, and authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to make grants for the purposes of training students, school personnel and law enforcement to identify signs of violence and intervene to prevent people from hurting themselves or others. In addition to prevention efforts, the legislation funds evidence-based technology and equipment to improve school security and prevent school violence. This includes the development of anonymous reporting systems and commonsense security infrastructure improvements.

The legislation also provides funds for school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams to help schools intake and triage threats before tragedy strikes.

Following tragedies like Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now Parkland, the federal government has funded short-term school safety initiatives focused on crisis response, active shooters, and physical infrastructure. While these are important investments, students, educators, and local law enforcement need the tools and support to take proactive and continuous steps toward improving school safety and security. The STOP School Violence Act reauthorizes and amends the 2001-2009 bipartisan Secure Our Schools Act. It would authorize $75 million for Fiscal Year 2018, and $100 million annually for the next 10 years, which may be partially offset from a DOJ research program called the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative.

“By providing critical resources to schools to strengthen their security infrastructure and train teachers, administrators, and law enforcement officers to intervene, we can save countless lives,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), another of the bill’s co-sponsors. “As I noted on the Senate floor last week, putting these kinds of critical resources closer to students in Utah has led to incredible success, stopping 86 attacks in schools since 2016. I believe we can replicate that success on a national level with this commonsense, noncontroversial proposal.”

Hatch and Cassidy were joined by the following Senators in introducing the legislation: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Udall (D-NM), Dean Heller (R-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Doug Jones (D-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Angus King (D-ME) in introducing today joined Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Udall (D-NM), Dean Heller (R-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Doug Jones (D-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Angus King (D-ME).