24 March, Saturday

To safeguard our students, more resources must go to enhance school security

Analytical Wing

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When I first ran for Congress, I promised the voters of my district that I would “attack problems, not people.”  Throughout my career, I have worked hard to offer solutions when challenges arise.
Now, it’s time for a solution to school violence.  Our country has endured many school shootings: Columbine in Colorado; Sandy Hook in Connecticut; Stoneman Douglas in Florida. Like millions of Americans, I’ve been shocked and angered by the senseless loss of life. I’ve also heard from my constituents, who’ve asked: “Kay, what can we do?”
When we decided to make airports safe from armed terrorists, we installed metal detectors and dramatically increased safety. It’s time we did the same thing for our schools.
The legislation (H.R. 5135) that I introduced on March 1 will:
Provide federal aid to local school districts who want to install metal detectors or other screening technologies
Encourage schools receiving the money to limit entrances. By limiting the number of entry/exit points, schools can secure their perimeter and enhance safety.
Allow any school applying for federal money to work with local law enforcement to implement security measures that best suit each school’s needs.
This is simple, straightforward legislation. It preserves local control and gives schools the freedom to work with law enforcement to secure America’s schools without undermining the Second Amendment.
My plan would provide almost immediate security for schools, and it would show teachers and students that we can do something to stop school shootings. It would authorize enough funding from Congress to ensure that every school in America can install metal detectors – without unfunded mandates or additional strings attached.
As a former teacher, I know that sometimes Washington places burdensome, unfunded mandates on school districts that cannot afford them. That’s why my approach would provide federal money to schools who work with local law enforcement. This will ensure that school districts don’t have to find savings elsewhere to install metal detectors. While schools would be responsible for the personnel, the good news is that most schools already have police officers in the school, or they have them assigned to a school. 
I currently serve as the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. In that role, I have a unique insight into our defense capabilities. I also know how much money we spend protecting our country’s national security. Can’t we find funds to keep our schools safe?  We can and we must. My proposal authorizes $500 million a year for 10 years. It would prove to students and parents that ensuring the safety and security of America’s school children is just as important as national security. 
I recognize that this is not a comprehensive solution. This is just one step that we can take to provide a safe and secure learning environment for teachers and students. There will be other proposals to address school safety, and I believe that all options should be considered.
We can secure our schools and protect America’s school children. I believe that all Americans, and all members of Congress, can support this legislation. Let’s focus on stopping criminals with guns from entering our schools. My plan will do just that.

The Hill

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