Larsen, Brooks Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve School Safety Nationwide

Feb 5, 2020

Rep. Larsen, co-chair of the Congressional School Safety Caucus, tours the newly-completed Anacortes High School to talk about school safety in September 2019.
Larsen, Brooks Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve School Safety Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-5), co-chairs of the Congressional School Safety Caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation to improve security and safety measures in schools nationwide. The School Safety Act would reauthorize the Secure Our Schools program to provide critical funding to local, state and tribal governments to help meet schools’ individual security needs, such as training for students and school personnel and updated security infrastructure.

“Schools must be a place where children, teachers and administrators feel safe,” said Larsen. “As a father of two sons, I remember the concern I felt when their school would experience lockdowns, and I empathize and sympathize with parents’ experiences today. Congress must do much more to make schools and communities safer and shrink the cycle of violence. The School Safety Act helps empower schools to focus on what they do best: teaching students and preparing them for bright futures.”

“Too many of us have felt the effects of school violence in our communities. As a co-founder of the School Safety Caucus, I am committed to ensuring the safety of our schools so that students and educators alike can focus on learning,” said Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks. “The School Safety Act reauthorizes critical funding needed to protect students against the threats and dangers that schools may face. This bipartisan legislation is something we as policymakers and parents can join together on to help keep our kids and educators safe.” 

During the 2017-2018 school year, schools reported a lack of funding as a roadblock in efforts to reduce or prevent crime, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s School Survey on Crime and Safety. The Secure Our Schools grant program, which Congress last authorized from 2002 to 2011, offers flexible funding for schools to assess and improve in their security measures. Grant funding can be used for assessments, violence prevention training and security infrastructure such as lighting, locks or other deterrent measures. The Secure Our Schools program also promotes collaboration between local law enforcement and school districts to better coordinate efforts to provide a safe, secure learning environment.

Larsen has long been an advocate for investing in school safety initiatives. In 2014, following a tragic shooting in Washington’s Second District at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Larsen met with students, school administrators, police officers and the community to discuss school safety. As a result of these meetings, he introduced legislation to reauthorize the Secure Our Schools program. In 2016, Larsen launched the bipartisan School Safety Caucus with Rep. Brooks to provide a forum for Congress to focus on best practices for school safety and investments to help schools meet their unique safety needs.

Read the full text of the School Safety Act here.