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Rep. Williams Addresses the Need to Safeguard Our Schools

Apr 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25) and Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) introduced H.R. 2717, Safer Schools Act of 2021, to establish two new grant programs that fund vulnerability assessments and physical security improvements to improve the safety of students and teachers in the classroom.

“While I pray for the day that no child or teacher ever feels unsafe in the classroom, we must take immediate action now to protect our schools,” said Congressman Williams. “In the Safer Schools Act, public school districts can apply for funding directly from the Department of Justice to pay for assessments on their campus security vulnerabilities, and for any corrective physical improvements. Funding should not be an obstacle for administrators who want to proactively address their physical security concerns, and early action could be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. Congress must assume the tremendous responsibility to keep our students and educators safe in the classroom, and I urge consideration of H.R. 2717 on the floor of the House of Representatives as soon as possible.”

"Students and teachers should never have to fear for their safety in the classroom, yet we know that schools across the country are struggling to respond to gaps in their security plans,” said Congressman Deutch. “This bipartisan bill will help schools access risk assessments to identify and fix any vulnerabilities in their security protocols. A key component of this legislation, named Alyssa’s Law in remembrance of Alyssa Alhadeff who was killed in the Stoneman Douglas tragedy, will help more schools adopt alarm systems that directly alert law enforcement, which can improve emergency response times and save lives."

Support in TX-25

“At a time when school security continues to be at the forefront of our daily routines, Congressman Williams’ proposed legislation is welcomed and appreciated. Taking proactive measures to make our schools safer, to include performing security audits and providing resources to address deficiencies, provides a win-win for school districts and communities across the Nation. We applaud Congressman Williams and his colleagues supporting this impactful legislation to ensure our students and staff are provided the safest learning environments possible.” - Killeen ISD

“The safety of our students and staff is a top priority at Grandview ISD and this bill will provide us with the necessary funding to fix physical vulnerabilities. We appreciate the Congressman’s work to make our classrooms and school spaces safer so that no parent or student fear going to school.” - Grandview ISD

“This new legislation would help districts large and small strengthen, expand and improve their safety and security initiatives. We are grateful to see funding accompany this proposed bill, to not only assist districts in efforts to assess measures they have in place but to also to make needed improvements. Cleburne ISD has upgrades to safety and security in the bond referendum that is in the hands of voters at this time. This legislation would make bond funding for those projects, if they are approved by voters, go even farther.” - Cleburne ISD

“On behalf of the City of Copperas Cove and the Copperas Police Department, we are writing to express our thanks and support for the Safer Schools Act of 2021. Unlike the tireless partisan debate over gun control and mental health as the solution to ending school violence, the Safer Schools Act directly addresses the security of our schools. School districts like Copperas Cove are in desperate need of a bill that can bridge the financial gap that coincides with the need to harden security in and around our schools. These grants will help absorb a deficit that otherwise would lead to further budget cuts in education.” – Mayor Bradi Diaz

“No parent should fear sending their child to school, and no child should fear for their safety in the classroom. I am glad to hear that Congressman Williams and Deutch will be reintroducing the Safer Schools Act to provide grant funding to individual public schools for facility risk assessments and hard security improvements.” - Cleburne Police Department

“I fully support this bill, it is much needed to ensure our children, teachers and staff in all schools have a healthy and safe environment to learn, teach, and work. Without an assessment, obvious physical vulnerable risk at schools can be overlooked and without funding physical risk go unfunded due to budget constraints. This bill will help those that have had their safe haven shattered to know that all is being done to restore their safety and protect them. The bill will allow others to learn through a thorough assessment of the weaknesses of the school so improvements can be made for the safety of all.” - Lampasas Police Department

“I applaud Congressman Williams' efforts to provide funding to school districts enabling comprehensive school safety planning. After the strains placed on our youth in relation to the recent Pandemic, our student's emotional health has emerged as one of the largest barriers to educational equity. I'm pleased to support the Congressman on this forward-thinking legislation.” - Stephenville ISD

“Abbott ISD is proud to support Congressman Williams and his efforts for the Safer Schools Act. School safety and security is one aspect of schools that often gets overlooked, or only talked about after a tragedy occurs. Schools must take a proactive stance when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of its students. With the Safer Schools Act, schools can get the necessary tools needed to mitigate and prevent shootings and tragedies.” – Abbott ISD

Supporting Organizations

“Stand with Parkland is proud to support the Safer Schools Act of 2021. We think this is an important piece of a layered approach to school safety. The safety of our students and teachers at school is a bipartisan issue; it affects all of us. We applaud Congressman Deutch and Congressman Williams for coming together in a bipartisan manner to support this bill.” - Tony Montalto, President of Stand with Parkland

"The Safer Schools Act of 2021 will provide the resources for schools to analyze their vulnerabilities and fix them in order to prevent and protect their campus. If it had been in place prior to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Massacre, I feel my little boy Alex and the 16 other innocent victims of the Parkland school shooting would still be alive today. Thank you Congressman Williams and Deutch for prioritizing the safety and security of our children and teachers.” - Max Schachter, Founder & CEO of Safe Schools For Alex

“The safety of our children is paramount. The Safer School Act would help protect them from those that would do them harm.” – Kevin Lawerence, Executive Director of Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA)

“I thank Congressmen Williams and Deutch for their continued leadership on this legislation and encourage the House to quickly pass this bill. We appreciate the Congressmen’s commitment to keeping the children, teachers and school staff members in our communities safe.” - Mark C. Williams, Board Chairman & Partner of Alliance for Safer Schools

“Expanding the support and funding for both threat assessments and physical security represents and supports the primary focus areas of the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools. This bill will create a new resource for our partners, who work in the education sector, to assist in enhancing the safety and security of learning environments across the nation. The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools appreciates Congressmen Williams and Deutch for their leadership in introducing this legislation.” - Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS)

“The Safer Schools Act of 2021, with the provision to expand Alyssa’s Law nationwide, is the most viable and realistic proposal to address the prevalent gaps in both school safety and security. Alyssa’s Law, named after my 14 year old daughter who was shot 10 times at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on 2/14/18, calls for the installation of silent panic buttons, allowing a direct link to law enforcement in order to improve emergency response time and save lives. No parent should have to fear losing a child in school, as I did Alyssa in 2018.” - Lori Alhadeff, President of Make Our Schools Safe

"No student or teacher should ever feel unsafe in the classroom. But unfortunately, this is becoming a reality in our society due to an increase in tragic incidents where students and teachers have lost their lives on school grounds. We must take steps to try to prevent these tragedies from happening. One such step that can be taken is assessing physical safety measures at schools and exploring how different measures that may help law enforcement better respond when an incident occurs. Unfortunately, not all schools have the resources to assess and implement these safety measures. On behalf of the more than 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am proud to offer our support for this legislation." - Patrick Yoes, National President of the National Fraternal Order of Police 

"This legislation will help reduce physical threats by establishing grant programs to assess risks and fund physical safety improvements to our public schools to firm up the safety and security of our nation’s students. A child should never have to worry, and families should never have to fear for their child’s safety while attending our public schools. Thank you for legislation that will mitigate these circumstances, and thank you for your efforts to keep children safe." - Karla Pruneda, President of Texas State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police 

 

Click here to view the final bill text. 

Click here to view a detailed summary of the bill. 

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Congressman Roger Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas and serves as a member of the House Committee on Financial Services and as Vice-Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee.