Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and John Barrasso (R-Wy) introduced a school safety bill on Wednesday that focuses on hardening schools. It would dedicate $38 billion to double resource officers nationwide, not increase gun control.
The Safe Kids, Safe Schools and Safe Communities Act 2022 would target doubling school resource officers, investing in mental health professionals and reducing gun violence, Cruz said in a statement. The funds necessary for the proposal would be paid entirely out of the unspent American Rescue Plan monies.
“Our Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act would focus on making schools safer by increasing the number of properly trained school resource officers on campus who can deter and, if necessary, stop school shooters before our kids are harmed, increasing the number of school mental health professionals who can identify at-risk children and ensure those kids get the help they need before they become violent, and providing funding to improve the physical security measures for schools,” he continued.
“Our legislation also focuses on curbing gun violence by improving NICS and prioritizing law enforcement, criminal prosecutions of persons who illegally buy a gun and expanding Project Exile to more effectively prosecute those who commit violent crimes with a firearm. These are issues that the left and right should be able to agree on. Our legislation would not only help prevent school shootings but do so while still protecting the constitutional rights of millions of law-abiding Americans,” he stated.
The bill proposes numerous improvements to security, including $200 million to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The senators noted that the current system would undergo an audit to ensure that records that would disqualify someone from purchasing or owning a firearm are included in NICS.
The reallocation of $17.5 billion of unspent American Rescue Plan education funds would enhance school safety, including doubling the number of trained school resource officers nationwide. In addition, ten billion in proposed grants are included to hire 15,000 school mental health professionals for K-12 schools.
Cruz defended his proposal on Fox News with Sean Hannity.