Great news for school safety advocates: Representative Roger Williams (a Republican representing Texas’ 25th District) and Representative Ted Deutch (a Democrat representing Florida’s 22nd District) announced today that they have introduced H.R. 3665, the School Violence Prevention and Mitigation Act of 2019. The bill establishes federal grant programs for public schools to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in their security related infrastructure. It also includes a provision to expand Alyssa’s Law nationwide.
Description of the bill from the press release:
The School Violence Prevention and Mitigation Act of 2019 authorizes $2 billion over 10 years for schools to first identify security risks and then address any shortfalls.
- Independent Facility Security Risk Assessments
- Establishes a grant program, administered by the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), that funds independent facility security risk assessments, conducted by experts, for individual public schools.
- The grant will cover 100% of the cost to conduct the assessment.
- Hard Security Improvements
- Establishes a grant program, administered by COPS, that funds hard security improvements for individual public schools based upon a previously conducted assessment.
- The grant will cover 50% of cost, unless the school receives a financial hardship waiver from the COPS Director.
- All schools will be required to install at least one silent panic alarm for use in a school security emergency, like an active shooter situation. The panic alarm, when activated, will directly alert the closest law enforcement agency of an emergency.
This is an exciting development! The bill already has bipartisan support, and we hope to see a Senate version filed soon.