WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) joined a group of 13 senators today to introduce legislation to allow 100,000 public schools to improve school safety by using federal dollars for school counselors, alarm systems, security cameras and crisis intervention training.
The School Safety & Mental Health Services Improvement Act was introduced by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Todd Young (R-IN).
“Ensuring schools have the resources they need to upgrade their infrastructure is an important step we can take to keeping our students and schools safe. This will allow schools across South Carolina to use federal dollars for mental health programs, security updates and more. As we continue to work towards solutions on this important topic, I want to thank Senator Alexander and my colleagues on the HELP Committee for their work on this issue," said Sen. Scott.
“We have drafted this legislation to help states and communities keep schools safe. Safe schools are for the most part a local responsibility, but in this case, the federal government can and should help. One way to do this is to give states and local school boards the authority to use federal dollars in different ways to make schools safer. For example, this bill would allow Tennessee to use federal dollars to upgrade school safety procedures, hire school counselors and develop mental health programs,” said Sen. Alexander, HELP Committee Chairman.
There are 100,000 public schools in the United States and state and local governments provide about 90 percent of public schools’ funding, but the federal government can and should help create an environment for communities, school boards and states to create safer schools.
Under The School Safety & Mental Health Services Improvement Act, the federal government can help in the following four ways:
- Encourages more school counselors and other mental health professionals
- Encourages school safety infrastructure upgrades
- Encourages the development of mental health programs for crisis intervention training and mental health assessments
- Creates a presidential task force to increase interagency communication
Click here for the text of the legislation and click here for a one-page summary of the legislation.