Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) recently introduced H.R. 5867, the National Strategy for School Security Act of 2016. This bill would require the Departments of Homeland Security and Education to create a national strategy to help schools protect themselves against acts of terrorism and other emergencies.
Sadly, schools across our country have become a soft target for disturbed individuals seeking to attack vulnerable populations. And, with the growing influence and reach of terrorist organizations like ISIS, our elementary and secondary schools are increasingly susceptible to terrorist threats. Yet astonishingly, the federal government has yet to put forth a standardized security strategy to help protect schools against these horrific acts.
According to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, collaboration between federal agencies to prevent and mitigate attacks on American schools has been wholly inadequate. The report recommended a higher level of interagency cooperation on school emergency preparedness to help schools prepare for and mitigate disasters, including natural disasters, school shootings, and acts of terrorism. Messer's bill is an attempt to address these concerns.
"We shouldn’t wait for ISIS to attack an elementary school before we put in place a viable, national strategy for school security that could help prevent a catastrophe,” Congressman Messer said. “While senseless tragedies like those in Newtown and Columbine have few easy answers, there are legitimate policy changes that could help prevent similar attacks in the future. Crafting a strategy that puts everyone on the same page is an important first step.”