Congressman Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and Senator Roger Marshall M.D. (R-KS) , introduced Safe Schools Act which is planned to allow COVID-19 relief dollars that have already been allocated to schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund to go towards safety measures to protect the campus.
This plan is to be used by schools to harden themselves with physical security measures such as locks, panic buttons, individual room security systems, video surveillance and hiring and paying the salaries of armed school resource officers, officials with Garcia’s office said.
“Now more than ever, we must be proactive in securing our schools,” Garcia said. “All constitutional options need to be examined to ensure our children are safe in the classroom. I’m proud to join Senator Marshall in introducing the Safe Schools Act, a common-sense bill that would allow schools to spend leftover COVID relief funds on crucial security improvements to protect students from harm.”
This legislation is planned to remove the requirement that ESSER expenses must be related to COVID-19, officials said.
“While we made some progress in previous legislation to make our schools stronger, harder and safer, certainly there is more that can and must be done immediately to protect kids,” Marshall said. “What happened in Uvalde was a horrific tragedy. While many have been quick to play politics, one thing we can all agree on is that Congress must act to harden schools. For these reasons, I am introducing this legislation that allows the abundance of unused COVID relief dollars to be diverted to secure schools in Kansas and throughout the nation.”
Nationwide, of the $189.5 billion of COVID money awarded under ESSER, State Education Agencies have yet to spend $150.1 billion
The Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the country’s second largest school district, hasn’t spent a single dime of the $2.57 billion
In American Rescue Plan money it received last year, there were 67 disrupted plots against K-12 schools from 2006-2018 – 66 percent of the schools had no system for alerting officials to concerning or threatening students behavior.
Recommendations from the Trump Administration’s 2018, “Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety” included:
School security strategies should use a layered approach that incorporates multiple, reinforcing echelons of policy, programs, and protective measures.
Entry control measures limit the number of access points, allow access only to those who should be on the campus, and provide an opportunity to conduct searches of suspicious items or persons.
Schools can implement security measures such as fencing, bollards, planters, curbs or walls to create a single point of entry to the campus.
Video surveillance is a valuable security measure for entry control.
Depending on their construction, classroom doors can significantly delay or prevent an attacker from reaching individuals in a classroom.
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