U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia is focused on improving school safety, and this week, he joined 12 other Senators in introducing legislation that would expand the way federal dollars can be used in the schools.
The School Safety and Mental Health Services Improvement Act, S.2513, would allow public schools in Georgia and all states to improve school safety by expanding the ways federal dollars may be used for school counselors, alarm systems, security cameras and crisis intervention training. “Keeping our schools safe requires a multi-pronged approach and all of us working together at the local, state and federal levels,” said Isakson, who is a member of the education committee and a co-sponsor of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 and the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016.
“The School Safety and Mental Health Services Improvement Act would provide schools with the necessary flexibility to offer stronger security measures and better address mental health issues,” he added,
State and local governments provide approximately 90 percent of public schools’ funding to the 100,000 public schools in the United States. However, Isakson believes the federal government can, and should, help create an environment for communities, school boards and states to create safer schools. According the Isakson, the School Safety and Mental Health Services Improvement Act, would help to:
· Encourage the hiring of more school counselors and other mental health professionals;
· Encourage school safety infrastructure upgrades;
· Encourage the development of mental health programs for crisis intervention training and mental health assessments; and
· Create a presidential task force to better coordinate resources among federal agencies that can play a role in school safety.
Joining Isakson in introducing the bill were: U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Todd Young, R-Ind.