U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced the School Security Enhancement Act, a bill that would allow for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants awarded to local communities to be used for evidence-based school safety technology and infrastructure.
"I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Sen. Doug Jones, to empower schools and make America's classrooms safer for our students," Sen. Cruz said. "By expanding the use of these SSAE grants, schools will be equipped with additional resources to prevent further tragedies from taking place, and ensure education officials and community leaders can choose the safety infrastructure or technologies that work best within the context of the school's learning environment."
The School Security Enhancement Act enables local school districts to use SSAE grant funding for school safety infrastructure and technology with evidence-based effectiveness, including to:
- Control access to school premises or facilities, through the use of technology or infrastructure with evidence-based effectiveness;
- Protect and conceal students within the school during crisis situations;
- Provide trained school safety officers to protect school personnel and students;
- Install technologies to provide prompt notification to relevant law enforcement and first responders during such a situation;
- Provide school safety reinforcement, including bullet-resistant doors and windows;
- Install any technology or system that would reduce the time needed to disseminate official information to parents regarding the safety of their children during and immediately following a crisis.
Additionally, the Act clarifies that SSAE grant funding shall not be used for the purpose of arming teachers. The bill does not change any other existing provision of law authorizing the providing of firearms or training in the use of firearms.