Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
January 24, 2013  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Introduces New Legislation to Strengthen School Safety  

New Bills Build on the School Safety Proposals from President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Gun Violence Task Force

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today introduced new legislation to strengthen safety at schools and ensure that state and local officials are able to secure their campuses and protect students.

“We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to ensure that they are safe when they are at school,” Senator Boxer said. “This legislation would give local communities and schools that want to strengthen security the opportunity for new resources and tools to help keep students safe.”

Senator Boxer’s first bill – the School Safety Enhancements Act – would strengthen and expand the Justice Department’s existing COPS Secure Our Schools grants program to provide schools with more resources to install tip lines, surveillance equipment, secured entrances and other important safety measures.

Currently, the COPS Secure Our Schools program requires a 50 percent local match. Senator Boxer’s bill would allow the Justice Department to reduce the local share to 20 percent for schools with limited resources. The bill also creates a joint task force between the Justice Department and the Department of Education to develop new school safety guidelines, and would increase the Secure Our Schools authorization from $30 million to $100 million.

Senator Boxer’s second bill – the School Resource and Safety Officer Act – would help safeguard America’s schools by using community policing strategies to prevent violence and improve student safety. The bill would make grants available to local governments to place trained and sworn career law enforcement officials at schools in their jurisdiction. Cities and school districts that meet the requirements could receive grants of up to $200,000 for each “School Resource and Safety Officer.”

Senator Boxer’s third bill – the Save Our Students (SOS) Act – would allow the federal government to reimburse Governors who want to use National Guard troops to help ensure that our nation’s schools are safe.

This legislation is modeled after a successful National Guard program – in place since 1989 – that allows Governors to use the Guard to assist with law enforcement efforts related to drug interdiction activities. Under the program, Guard troops could support local law enforcement efforts to keep schools safe, including assisting with security upgrades and relieving local police so officers are able to do more patrols at schools. The National Guard has said it is “particularly well suited for domestic law enforcement support missions” because it is “located in over 3,000 local communities throughout the nation, readily accessible, routinely exercised with local first responders, and experienced in supporting neighboring communities.”

Senator Boxer has said Congress should enact school safety legislation as part of a comprehensive response to gun violence in America, which would include enacting sensible gun measures – such as expanded background checks, a ban on high-capacity clips and an assault weapons ban – and ensuring that the mentally ill and criminals are not able to purchase guns.