School Safety Enhancements Act of 2013 Moved Out of Committee
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to approve the School Safety Enhancements Act of 2013 (S. 146). Sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and supported by the Security Industry Association (SIA), the measure passed the committee with bipartisan support.
The legislation is also supported by the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the Association of Education Service Agencies, the National Rural Education Association, and the Rural Education Advocacy Association.
As amended, the legislation would provide $40 million annually to communities and schools to install a wide variety of security solutions, including cameras, controlled access systems and other life-safety products. It would also help schools conduct security assessments and training for students, teachers and administrators, as well as help schools better coordinate with local law enforcement agencies.
Local communities and schools would apply for the Secure Our Schools grants through the Department of Justice (DOJ), with federal resources matched by local governments.
The bill would create a DOJ and Department of Education joint task force to develop advisory guidelines that would ensure the safety of children in K-12 schools, and it would establish a National Center for Campus Public Safety to help colleges and universities protect students.
“Local school officials are in the best position to make final decisions on how to use federal resources,” said SIA’s CEO, Don Erickson. “This legislation will reauthorize the successful Secure Our Schools Program, a program that has gone unfunded for the past two years. As a parent of school-aged children, I am pleased to see the Senate act swiftly and in a bipartisan manner.”
The legislation will next move to the Senate floor where passage is expected.