September 24, 2019 9:28 AM
Senator David Perdue has teamed up with Alabama Democrat Doug Jones to introduce a bill to improve school safety. The bill is modeled after grants used here in Georgia. Senator Perdue’s press release is as follows:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Doug Jones (D-AL) are taking bipartisan action to strengthen school safety for students across the country. The senators introduced the School Safety Clearinghouse Act, which would establish a federally-funded and housed information clearinghouse detailing best practices for school security and design.
“Every student deserves access to a safe learning environment and a quality education,” said Senator Perdue. “As a father and a grandfather, keeping children safe is my top priority. When a parent brings a child into a public school, there is an implicit agreement that their child will be kept safe. My mom and dad were schoolteachers, and they talked about school safety all the time. As an engineer by trade, I believe the first step to improving school security is addressing the structural safety of schools. Our bill would simply create a resource where state and local officials can find best practices for school security and design. Ultimately, it will allow parents, teachers, and administrators to make informed decisions about the best ways to keep their schools and communities safe.”
“Children deserve to go to school and learn in a safe environment,” said Senator Jones. “School leaders should always have the resources they need in order to protect our children and their teachers. Our bipartisan bill is a smart step to get more information to communities about how they can make their schools as safe as possible.”
As a result of the STOP School Violence Act, many school districts now have access to state and federal funding to improve school security. The School Safety Clearinghouse Act would allow districts to make informed decisions about how to implement this funding.
The clearinghouse would be managed by the Department of Homeland Security and include recommendations from engineers, architects, first responders, building security experts, and mental health advocates. It would not advocate for specific technologies or tools or impose any mandates on school districts.
The legislation follows the Federal Commission on School Safety’s December 2018 recommendation of a federal clearinghouse to assess, identify, and share information on school security technology and innovation.
In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp approved a state budget that included a one-time $30,000 school security grant for each of Georgia’s schools. Senator Perdue recently toured Mashburn Elementary School in Cumming, Georgia, and saw firsthand how the school has used this funding to improve security on their campus.
The School Safety Clearinghouse Act is cosponsored by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).
View the bill text here.