Congress Needs to Move on School Security
Back in the MAR/APR 2023 edition of Security Nation, I wrote about our successful visit to Congress in Washington, D.C, covering important topics such as data privacy, workforce development and school security.
While we were pleased that our meetings with Senator Ted Cruz resulted in multiple school security bills being introduced in the U.S. Senate, we are concerned about the lack of movement from all of Congress on the issue.
As of the time of this writing, we are tracking nine school security bills that have been introduced in Congress. Many have similar names. They include Safe Schools Act, the SAFE School Act, two bills titled Protect our Children’s Schools Act, SAFE School Act (seriously), School Security Enhancement Act, Securing Our Schools Act of 2023, Security to Avoid Violence in the Educational Settings Act, and Securing our Students Act.
It would seem that there is a great deal of interest in protecting students at schools but, while there are many bills and cosponsors, the importance of moving quickly on the issue hasn’t appeared through the early half of the year.
A major reason for the delay seems to have been the debt ceiling showdown which went to the 11th hour before it was solved. Now, many in Congress believe they can get back to regular order. ESA and its allies will be reaching out even more over the summer and throughout the rest of the year to push to expedite the process.
We all remember the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May of 2022 and the shooting in Nashville, Tennessee that took place in March of this year. They received widespread media coverage. However, a quick search on the Education Week website tracker shows a total of 23 school shootings have taken place this year (including the Nashville tragedy). While some may debate the merits of what classifies a “school shooting” as such, there can be no debate that school shootings are not simply going away when they aren’t being reported on.
The security and life safety industry has the tools available to make our children’s schools safer. It requires members of Congress to direct the appropriate funding to make it happen. Every moment we delay can result in another tragedy. We hope Congress can move beyond the partisan debates of arming teachers or funding school counseling and instead allow our industry to deploy the tools that we know to work.
By Jake Braunger