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Upton, House Advance School Safety Legislation

Bipartisan bill would improve early detection, intervention, and notification technology

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Washington, March 14, 2018 | Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761) | comments

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today joined his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in voting to advance H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act, by a 407 to 10 vote. Upton had previously co-sponsored the bill.

“When we send our kids off to school, we expect them to arrive back home safely. This bipartisan legislation addresses flaws in the system that fail to prevent violence in school. It represents a common-sense step that students, teachers, and law enforcement should all agree on,” said Upton. “Importantly, this legislation will provide an historic investment in school safety plans including prevention training for teachers and administrators, the formation of crisis intervention teams with mental health professionals, and better coordination between schools and law enforcement. We won’t completely solve the problem of school violence overnight, but this is a great start.” 

Upton has met with students, parents, and teachers at schools in Berrien, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren Counties in the weeks since the tragic Parkland, Florida shooting to discuss ideas for curbing violence at schools.

H.R. 4909 is a bill to help schools and communities stop violence before it happens by supplying $500 million for state-based grants focused on early intervention and school safety infrastructure. The Department of Justice would be authorized to make grants to states for the purpose of training students, school personnel, and law enforcement to identify potential signs of violence in order to prevent individuals from hurting themselves of others. The legislation also permits the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems, and formation of school threat assessment and intervention teams to help schools find and assess threats before tragedy strikes. H.R. 4909 is supported by groups such as the Sandy Hook Promise.

H.R. 4909 also includes language from H.R. 4811, the Securing our Schools Act. This bill, co-sponsored by Upton, would authorize the Department of Justice to offer grants to local school districts for buying and installing SOS, or panic buttons, in classrooms. This notification technology will act as both a deterrent from, and front-line response to, situations that place children and educators in harm’s way. H.R. 4811 is supported by groups such as the National Sheriffs Association and the National Education Association.

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