Rubio Lays Out Plan To Keep Schools Safe

After the tragic shooting that left nearly two dozen dead at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, politicians began calling for a range of measures to address the crisis.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., laid out a plan that he says “can actually make a difference” easing access to information and funding for local schools nationwide, which have varying degrees of safety and security measures. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., have pushed for the bill as well.

“The horrific tragedy in Texas should spur Congress to act on proposals that can pass and actually make a difference like our bipartisan Luke & Alex School Safety Act,” he said.

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The bill in question, the Luke and Alex School Safety Act of 2021, would create a process to improve school safety, a step outside of the usually partisan gun control debate. In fact, many of the school safety and mental health provisions recommended for over a decade have been largely ignored while lawmakers debate over gun control.

From the bill summary:

This bill requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Best Practices for use by state and local educational and law-enforcement agencies, institutions of higher education, health professionals, and the public.

The bill requires DHS to collect clearinghouse data analytics, user feedback on the implementation of best practices and recommendations identified by the clearinghouse, and any evaluations conducted on these best practices and recommendations. In addition, DHS must coordinate with the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice to assess and identify best practices and recommendations and establish an advisory board to provide feedback and propose additional recommendations.

Further, the bill specifies the criteria for best practices and recommendations of the clearinghouse, including evidence that the best practice or recommendation has had a significant effect on improving the health, safety, and welfare of individuals in school settings.

Finally, the bill provides for grant program review.

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