Houses Passes STOP School Violence Act

By Melanie Arter | March 14, 2018 | 3:42pm EDT

( – In a vote of 407 to 10, the U.S. House on Wednesday passed a school safety bill aimed at preventing school shootings by providing training to law enforcement, school personnel, and students.

H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act, amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to revise and reauthorize through FY2028 the Secure Our Schools grant program.

The measure would create a grant program to train students, teachers, school officials, and local law enforcement on early identification and intervention when signs of violence arise. It calls for the creation of a coordinated reporting system and implements FBI & Secret Service-based school threat assessment protocols to prevent school shootings before they occur.

It was introduced by Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.), a former sheriff of Jacksonville, Fla. He said the bill focuses on prevention of school shootings.

“We must prevent it before it occurs, and so that’s what this bill does. That’s the goal of this bill is to provide prevention within our schools,” Rutherford said during a GOP press conference after the bill’s passage.

“If there is any place our children can feel safe, it should be our schools. The STOP School Violence Act takes a multi-faceted approach that will help prevent school violence before it takes place,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement.

“It gives law enforcement, school officials, and students the training, technology, and resources they need to identify and prevent threats. This is a common-sense approach to combatting senseless violence. I want to thank Sheriff Rutherford for his leadership on this vital issue,” Ryan said.

The bill also calls for “the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence,” which will include cell phone apps, hotlines, and websites. 

President Donald Trump applauded the House for passing the bill, calling it “an important step towards keeping American students safe.”

“This legislation helps protect our Nation’s youth and educators by authorizing State-based grants that will support evidence-based violence prevention programs,” he said in a statement.

“It is critical that we strengthen our laws in order to aid our law enforcement, address the needs of individuals struggling with serious mental illness, and develop proactive strategies for identifying and preventing violence in schools,” Trump said.

“This Administration is pleased with the progress we have made toward securing our schools over the last few weeks alone, and looks forward to working with the Senate to protect America’s students,” the president added.


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