WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to approve the School Safety Enhancements Act of 2013, a measure supported by the Security Industry Association (SIA). Sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), S.146 passed the committee with bipartisan support.
As amended, the legislation would provide $40 million annually to communities and schools to install a wide variety of security solutions, including cameras, access control systems and other life-safety products. It would also help schools conduct security assessments and training for students, teachers and administrators, and help schools better coordinate with local law enforcement agencies.
Local communities and schools would apply for the Secure Our Schools grants through the Department of Justice (DOJ), with federal resources matched by local governments.
The bill would create a DOJ and Department of Education joint task force to develop advisory guidelines that would ensure the safety of children in K-12 schools. It would also establish a National Center for Campus Public Safety to help colleges and universities protect students.
“Local school officials are in the best position to make final decisions on how to use federal resources,” says SIA CEO Don Erickson. “This legislation will reauthorize the successful Secure Our Schools Program, a program that has gone unfunded for the past two years. As a parent of school-aged children, I am pleased to see the Senate act swiftly and in a bipartisan manner.”
The legislation will next move to the Senate floor where passage is expected.
As part of SIA’s School Safety initiative, SIA Education@ISC is presenting a School Safety track at ISC West that focuses on issues surrounding security on school campuses. The organization has also started a LinkedIn group, SIA Safe Schools, to discuss policy, technology, compliance issues and the design and installation of security systems to protect our nation's schools.
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