WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced the School Security Enhancement Act, which allows local communities to utilize Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants for measures that reinforce school safety infrastructure and technology.
“Texas has not been exempt from the horror of school shootings,” Sen. Cruz said. “All of us have been horrified by the violent attacks on our students. These students, along with parents, local school boards, teachers, and communities across the country want a solution. Much like the majority of Texans, I believe the number one thing that makes schools safer is having more armed police officers on campuses. Expanding the use of these grants will empower our community leaders and education officials with the resources they need to strengthen our schools, hire school safety officers, and keep our children safe.”
“I’m proud to join Senator Cruz in introducing the School Security Enhancement Act,” Sen. Rubio said. “This legislation will give schools the option to improve security by using federal funds for measures such as hiring security officers, implementing technology and reinforcing safety equipment to respond to a potential crisis. I am steadfast in supporting measures that keep our schools safe and prevent tragedy.”
The full text of the bill may be viewed here. The grants may be used to hire school safety officers, in addition to infrastructure or technologies that:
- Control access to school premises or facilities, through the use of metal detectors or other technology with evidence-based effectiveness;
- Cover and conceal students within the school during crisis situations;
- Install technologies to provide prompt notification to relevant law enforcement and first responders during such a situation;
- Provide school safety reinforcement, including bullet-resistant doors and windows;
- Install 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.
Sen. Cruz previously introduced a similar measure in August as an amendment to the Defense-Labor-HHS appropriations bill. In May, Sen. Cruz participated in a school safety roundtable with Gov. Greg Abbott, local law enforcement officials, and the victims and survivors of the Santa Fe High School, Alpine High School, and Sutherland Springs church shootings.