It’s Time to Make Our Schools Safe Again

Mar 14, 2018 | COMMUNICATIONS •

We can all agree that schools should be a safe place where students are free to learn, make friends, and find their purpose. Parents should be able to trust that when they drop their children off at school, it will be a safe place for them to learn and grow.

That’s why in December, House Republicans passed the Fix NICS Act of 2017, and prior to that we enacted mental health reform. It’s also why in January 2018, Congressman John Rutherford (a former Sheriff) introduced the STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909).

Tragically, only two weeks after the bill’s introduction, 17 students and teachers lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and shattered the trust of both parents and students across our country.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time. It happened at Freeman High School in Eastern Washington, at Columbine, Sandy Hook, and too many others.

When this trust is broken, our communities are left broken, too. In this time of brokenness, we must have tough conversations with one another. We must ask the hard questions and work together to find viable solutions.

Today, in our continued efforts to restore community trust and prevent other tragic acts of violence from happening, we passed the STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909). With overwhelmingly bipartisan support, we voted to empower students, teachers, school officials, and law enforcement to identify individuals with the propensity to commit acts of violence — and to intervene before they do.

This is just one of the many ways House Republicans are reaffirming our commitment to keeping America the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

Take 30 seconds to share your thoughts on this issue!

The STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909) provides a multi-layered approach to identify threats and prevent violence from taking place on school grounds. It provides much-needed resources, creates an anonymous reporting system, and calls for further coordination with law enforcement on this front.

This legislation is about preventing future tragedies like the one we saw in Florida. As bill sponsor and former sheriff Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL) explained, “I don’t want to be the best first responder to a mass casualty event. I want to stop these horrific events before they ever occur.”

The STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909) provides funding for…

  1. Student violence prevention training to counter student violence against others and self, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students. This prevention training would be designed to give students and school personnel the ability to recognize and respond quickly to warning signs of school violence, and would include active shooter training.
  2. Technology to improve school security including the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems such as mobile apps, a hotline, and a website. This funding may also be used for metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other technologies to keep schools safe.
  3. School threat assessment and crisis intervention teams so that school personnel can respond to threats before they materialize.
  4. More coordination with law enforcement, in particular, with those officers who already staff schools.

This legislation aims to prevent violence, save lives, and encourage sensible steps to improve the safety and security our students deserve.

In the midst of a robust dialogue, we must come together and have honest and courageous conversations with one another. It is from these kinds of conversations that Sheriff Rutherford’s STOP School Violence Act was born, and it is from these conversations that we will be able to innovate, lead and keep our commitment to the American people.

Let your voice be heard! Take 30 seconds and tell us what you think about our action to curb school violence.