Republican senator Ted Cruz (Tex.) introduced a bill cosponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) designed to harden schools against potential attackers on Friday.
The legislation, named the School Security Enhancement Act, would ensure local schools are able to use federal Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants for school security projects. It would allow that federal grant money to be spent on hiring school safety officers, upgrading school security infrastructure, and upgrading school communications systems. It would apply to measures like installing bulletproof doors and windows, limiting access to school grounds, the use of metal detectors, and infrastructure to provide cover and concealment to students in the event of an attack.
"I'm proud to join Senator Cruz in introducing the School Security Enhancement Act," Rubio said. "This legislation will give schools the option to improve security by using federal funds for measures such as hiring security officers, implementing technology and reinforcing safety equipment to respond to a potential crisis. I am steadfast in supporting measures that keep our schools safe and prevent tragedy."
Cruz said the bill was an example of a real-world solution to a serious threat.
"Texas has not been exempt from the horror of school shootings," Cruz said. "All of us have been horrified by the violent attacks on our students. These students, along with parents, local school boards, teachers, and communities across the country want a solution. Much like the majority of Texans, I believe the number one thing that makes schools safer is having more armed police officers on campuses. Expanding the use of these grants will empower our community leaders and education officials with the resources they need to strengthen our schools, hire school safety officers, and keep our children safe."
The bill is a follow up to the Stop School Violence Act that Congress passed in May 2018 as part of omnibus legislation. That law provides another set of federal funding grants to implement many of the same school safety measures as well as funding for crisis intervention programs and funding to increase cooperation between school districts and local law enforcement. It was signed into law by President Trump the same month.