U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today praised the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote to approve their legislation to strengthen school safety by helping state and local officials secure their campuses and protect students.
"Protecting our children and our grandchildren from harm should be our No. 1 priority," Senator Boxer said. "This bipartisan bill would give local communities and schools the opportunity to benefit from new resources and tools to help keep their students safe."
"The Secure our Schools Grant Program helps state and local governments work in close partnership to improve school safety, protect our students, and create a safe learning environment," said Senator Collins. "It is vital that community law enforcement professionals and agencies are adequately supported in their mission to keep our schools and communities safe."
The bipartisan bill -- the School and Campus Safety Enhancements Act -- would provide communities and schools with resources to install classroom locks, lighting, fencing, reinforced doors and other deterrent measures. The measure would also help schools conduct security assessments and training for students, teachers and administrators, and allow schools to better coordinate with local law enforcement.
The measure would authorize $40 million annually for these safety improvements. Local communities and schools would apply for the Secure Our Schools grants through the Justice Department, with federal resources matched 50-50 by local governments.
The Boxer-Collins bill would also create a Department of Justice and Department of Education joint task force to develop advisory guidelines to help K-12 schools keep children safe. The bill also includes a provision authored by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) to establish a National Center for Campus Public Safety to help colleges and universities protect students.