Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, has introduced two pieces of legislation, the Safe Schools Act and the Strengthening School Security for Students Act, to the U.S. House of Representatives to secure schools and protect students from mass shootings and other violent acts, according to a statement released by the congressman’s office.
The Safe Schools Act would allow unspent COVID-19 relief dollars that were already allocated to schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund 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.
The Strengthening School Security for Students Act would provide funding for schools to hire and train at least two school resource officers per 500 students to improve school security and protect students from potential threats. Recent data shows that only 45% of schools have an SRO on campus at least once a week. However, properly trained SROs have proven to be a meaningful deterrent to violence at schools, can stop criminals and save lives in the event of a shooting, according to the statement from Garcia’s office.
“Following the horrific events that have occurred in our schools across our country, in particular the recent events in Nashville, Tennessee, I am reintroducing these common-sense bills to help harden our schools against violent crimes and individuals with intent to harm our students,” Garcia said in the prepared statement.
“Nobody in this country wants to see these tragic events continue, and now we must work together to find solutions to deter future violence from taking place,” Garcia added. “I am hopeful that these bills will receive bipartisan support and pass through both chambers of Congress, and be signed into law by the president.”