(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday that she is planning to introduce two bills to protect students at schools – the school safety enhancement act, which expands the existing COPS program (Community Oriented Policing Services), and SOS or Save Our Students, which would expand the National Guard program.
SOS “would expand 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 and counter-drug activities. So we take a successful program, and we say we’re gonna add a new purpose, and that’s what we do in our legislation,” she said.
“National Guard troops could be used to support local law enforcement agencies in protecting our children at schools. This could take the form of additional guards at school as well as capital improvements such as strengthening the perimeters of the school and safety procedures,” Boxer added.
The National Guard troops would remain under the command and control of the governor, she said. And they are located in over 3,000 local communities nationwide, so they are “readily accessible” and “routinely exercised with local first responders and experienced in supporting neighborhood communities,” Boxer pointed out.
“This week, Congress is going to approve a bill that I support that spends $640 billion on national defense. That is more military spending than the next 6 countries combined. National defense. Is it not part of the national defense to make sure our children are safe?” she asked.
Her proposal to expand the COPS program would “provide schools with more resources to install tip lines, surveillance equipment, secured entrances, metal detectors, and other important safety measures.”
“Right now, the program is a 50-50 match. My bill allows the Justice Department to reduce the local sheriff to just 20 percent for those schools who make the case for more generous federal cost-share,” Boxer said.
The bill would also create a join task force between the Justice Department and the Education Department to develop advisory school safety guidelines.
“We must act, and whoever criticizes me or others for saying so, saying that we must act, whoever says this is not the right time, I say this – when is the right time?” she asked.