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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin cosponsored bipartisan legislation that funds school security improvements and invests in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens.

“Now is the time for Congress to work together to advance commonsense solutions that will make our schools and communities safer,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m urging my Congressional colleagues to support this bipartisan investment in early intervention and prevention, and to work together to find common ground on gun safety reforms to protect our children and save lives.”

The Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018, led by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), authorizes the Department of Justice to make grants for the purposes of training students, school personnel and law enforcement to identify signs of violence and intervene to prevent people from hurting themselves or others.

In addition to prevention efforts, the legislation funds evidence-based technology and equipment to improve school security and prevent school violence.  This includes the development of anonymous reporting systems, and commonsense security infrastructure improvements.  The legislation also provides funds for school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams to help schools intake and triage threats before tragedy strikes.

Following tragedies like Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now Parkland, the federal government has funded short-term school safety initiatives focused on crisis response, active shooters and physical infrastructure. While these are important investments, we have not yet seen sustained strategies to STOP violence in our schools before it happens. Our students, educators and local law enforcement need the tools and support to take proactive and continuous steps toward improving school safety and security.

The following Senators also cosponsored the STOP School Violence Act: Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Udall (D-NM), Dean Heller (R-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Doug Jones (D-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Angus King (D-ME).

The STOP School Violence Act reauthorizes and amends the 2001-2009 bipartisan Secure Our Schools Act to offer Department of Justice grants to states to help our schools implement proven, evidence-based programs and technologies that STOP school violence before it happens.

The bill permits grants to fund evidence-based programs and practices to:

  • Train students, school personnel and local law enforcement to identify warning signs and intervene to stop school violence before it happens;
  • Improve school security infrastructure to deter and respond to threats of school violence, including the development and implementation of anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence;
  • Develop and operate school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams; and
  • Facilitate coordination between schools and local law enforcement.

The bill would authorize $75 million for FY 2018, and $100 million annually for the next ten years, which may be partially offset from a DOJ research program called the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative.

An online version of this release is available here.

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