WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) today introduced the School Security Enhancement Act, a bipartisan bill which would allow for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants awarded to local communities to be used for evidence-based school safety technology and infrastructure. The full text of the bill may be viewed here.
“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Sen. Doug Jones, to empower schools and make America’s classrooms safer for our students,” Sen. Cruz said. “By expanding the use of these SSAE grants, schools will be equipped with additional resources to prevent further tragedies from taking place, and ensure education officials and community leaders can choose the safety infrastructure or technologies that work best within the context of the school’s learning environment.”
“Students should be able to feel safe at school and focus on their education,” Sen. Jones said. “We have a responsibility to make sure our schools are safe and to prevent the tragic and senseless violence we have seen all too often in recent years. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Senator Cruz so we can take a positive step toward providing schools the tools and resources they need in order to protect our children.”
The School Security Enhancement Act enables local school districts to use SSAE grant funding for school safety infrastructure and technology with evidence-based effectiveness, including to:
- Control access to school premises or facilities, through the use of technology or infrastructure with evidence-based effectiveness;
- Protect and conceal students within the school during crisis situations;
- Provide trained school safety officers to protect school personnel and students;
- 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.
Additionally, the School Security Enhancement Act clarifies that SSAE grant funding shall not be used for the purpose of arming teachers. The bill does not change any other existing provision of law authorizing the providing of firearms or training in the use of firearms.