Summary: A school safety bill was introduced on Monday in response to the Parkland, Florida shooting.
After the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, 21 senators banded together to create legislation intended to strengthen safety in schools. On Monday, the bipartisan group led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the bill.
The school safety measure was a direct response to the Valentine’s Day shooting in Florida, according to USA Today. The senators stated that the legislation will provide more security in schools and will invest money in violence prevention programs. The bill, however, will not address gun control.
On February 14, Nikolas Cruz, 19, entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; pulled the fire alarm, and killed 17 students and staff with an automatic rifle as they fled from their classrooms. The massacre prompted the school’s students to publicly fight for more gun control measures, such as an expansion of background checks, but the bill announced on Monday does not address these wants.
Monday’s bill was sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, and he said that he wanted to create a national bill that was modeled off of a successful program in his state.
“Putting these kinds of critical resources closer to students in Utah has led to incredible success,” Hatch said.
The bill allows the Department of Justice to issue grants that will train students, school staff, and law enforcement to identify signs of violence; improve school safety infrastructure; develop crisis intervention teams and more.
According to the White House, President Donald Trump fully supports this bill.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, said that the bill is one aspect of the solution to gun violence at schools; but she wanted more gun safety measures to be passed in the future.
The Sandy Hook Promise, an organization devoted to preventing gun violence, said that this bill should not be the only measure to stop school shootings. The group was created after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. An adult entered a grade school and killed 20 children and staff.
On March 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to discuss school safety.
According to USA Today, senators who co-sponsored the recent bill include Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas, Dean Heller of Nevada, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Democrats Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Bill Nelson of Florida, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Doug Jones of Alabama, and Independent Angus King of Maine.