U.S. Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) today announced new legislation he introduced to help provide better security at schools across the country. Congressman Barrow was joined at a press conference to announce the legislation by Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree and Richmond County Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson. The legislation, H.R. 2583, already has the endorsement of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association, the National Sheriffs' Association, and the National Association of School Administrators, the School Superintendent's Association.
"One of the greatest responsibilities we have is to protect our children while they're at school," said Congressman Barrow. "This legislation reauthorizes a critical federal matching grant program that will help schools across the country install technology in our schools they'll depend on in case of an emergency. I'm glad so many organizations have endorsed this legislation, and I'll work with my colleagues in the House to get it moved through the Congressional process."
"I fully support this bill," said Sheriff Richard Roundtree, a former Field Operations Supervisor for Richmond County School District Police. "We have to do all we can to protect those that cannot protect themselves, including our precious children. We've not had a fire that has killed a child in a school for 50 years. However, we have more safeguards in place for fires than "active shooters' which is our #1 threat in schools. We can and we must do better."
Congressman Barrow's bill will reauthorize a critical federal matching grant program for school security under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act that expired in 2009. The program, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) at the Department of Justice (DOJ), provides matching grants for "improved security, including the placement and use of metal detectors and other deterrent measures, at schools and on school grounds." Congressman Barrow's bill adds language to include in the funding the "acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency." The new language allows school systems to install direct links, or panic buttons, in classrooms to law enforcement officials. This technology is similar to that used in Congressional Office Buildings at the U.S. Capitol.