As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, Congress is reauthorizing and restoring funding for school safety grants administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. The new law provides $25 million immediately for school security technology equipment, in addition to emergency communications systems and other coordination with law enforcement to enhance response capabilities.

Administered through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), $33 million is authorized annually for the program beginning in 2019. Overall, the STOP School Violence Act (included in the spending measure) authorizes a total of nearly $1 billion in funding for DOJ school safety grant programs through 2028.

School security funding has been a major policy priority for the Security Industry Association (SIA) since 2008, and the association is praising the funding law. According to a SIA press release, “Addressing the threat to our schools demonstrated by recent tragedies at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and Great Mills High School in Maryland requires a holistic approach to bolstering school safety and security. Modern, effective security infrastructure that can help deter or limit violence is an essential component of any comprehensive school safety strategy. However, federal grant assistance specifically for facility security measures has been unavailable since fiscal 2011.”

SIA is a cofounder of the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), a consortium of school security experts that developed threat- and income-based guidelines for K-12 schools to implement appropriate, layered security measures.