Listen to this blog
Billions of federal dollars originally allocated to the safe reopening of K-12 schools (following COVID-19) and other federal funds remain unspent. With the heightened focus in Washington on improving the safety of our schools, several Senators are introducing much needed legislation that will reallocate that unspent money. In part two of our federal round up series, we have summarized some pending legislation that identifies school safety and mental health measures that are being considered.
“We need to keep our kids and teachers safe, and we know what works. The federal government already has $150 billion that local communities can use to protect students with security officers, school perimeters, mental health resources and more. The Safe Schools Act would use those resources to make our schools safer now,” said Senator John Kennedy in a June 9th press release.
Safe Schools Act (US S4369)
The Safe Schools Act would allow states and local educational agencies to use any remaining COVID-19 elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds for school security measures. On June 9th, 2022, Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) introduced a bill under the Safe Schools Act to use any unspent COVID relief funds provided through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund for more school security measures of which a few follows:
- An evidence-based strategy or program to prevent violence, which may include the use of appropriate technologies, including the placement and use of metal detectors and other deterrent measures and emergency notification and response technologies
- Training to prevent student violence against others and self, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students
- The development and operation of an anonymous reporting system for threats of school violence
- The development and operation of a school threat assessment and intervention team.
- Acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency
Introduction of Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act of 2022
On June 23rd, 2022, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing the Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act of 2022 legislation that would dedicate over $38 billion to make our schools and communities safer, including funding for:
- Enhanced school security
- Doubling the number of school resource officers
- Investing in school mental health professionals
- Reducing gun violence.
The funds appropriated by their proposal would be fully paid for with unspent American Rescue Plan money.
Introduction of Security to Avoid Violence in Educational Settings (SAVES) Act
On August 25th, 2022, Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced the Security to Avoid Violence in Educational Settings (SAVES) Act. This legislation would redirect federal funds to establish a Department of Justice grant program to enhance school safety at the state and local levels; allowing states and local agencies to determine how to utilize the money to enhance school security. This program would reallocate $500 million in funding from last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act over five years to states to create grants for local K-12 schools and school systems.
Any rules established by the State that strengthen security on school premises, which may include:
- Controlling access to school premises or facilities, using metal detectors, or other measures, or technology, with evidence-based effectiveness
- Implementing technology to provide notification to relevant law enforcement and first responders during crisis situations
- Implementing any technology or system that would reduce the time needed to disseminate official information to parents regarding the safety of their children during and immediately following a crisis.
Raptor can help
Founded in 2002, Raptor has partnered with over 52,000 schools globally, including over 5,000 K-12 U.S. school districts, to provide integrated visitor, volunteer, emergency management, and early intervention software and services that cover the full spectrum of school and student safety.
Our team of safety enthusiasts and our suite of industry-leading solutions provide schools with confidence in their safety and student wellbeing programs so they can focus on teaching. School safety is a journey, and Raptor’s trusted advisors support customers across all dimensions ensuring sustainable programs to address today’s challenges and tomorrow’s threats. Driven by our mission to protect every child, every school, every day, Raptor customers mitigate risks from prevention to preparedness and through reunifying families.
Guide to K-12 Student Wellbeing
Strategies to Recognize, Document, and Support Students in Distress.