Congressman John Rutherford Announces Bipartisan STOP School Violence Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL), along with Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Hal Rogers (R-KY), held a news conference to discuss their bipartisan bill, H.R. 4909, the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018. The STOP School Violence Act would create a grant program to train students, teachers, school officials, and local law enforcement how to identify and intervene early when signs of violence arise, create a coordinated reporting system, and implement FBI & Secret Service-based school threat assessment protocols to prevent school shootings before they happen. This bill, which was introduced on January 30 and now has more than 25 bipartisan cosponsors, would boost school efforts to develop violence prevention programs and coordinate with law enforcement to improve school.
During the news conference, Congressman Rutherford gave the following statement:
“As a career police officer and sheriff for 12 years in my hometown of Jacksonville, I know first-hand the importance of communities working together with their law enforcement agencies to keep people safe. This bill invests in early intervention and prevention programs in our local schools, so that our communities and law enforcement can be partners in preventing violent events from happening. We need to give students, teachers, and law enforcement the tools and training they need to identify warning signs and to know who to contact when they see something that is not right.
“I know from my law enforcement experience that security requires a multi-layered approach. Our bill supports one very important layer of security for our schools. The best way to keep our students and teachers safe is to prevent violence from ever entering school grounds.
“As I used to tell my community in Northeast Florida when I was sheriff: I don’t want to be the best first responder to a mass casualty event. I want to stop these horrific events before they ever occur.”
Background: The STOP School Violence Act reauthorizes and amends the bipartisan 2001 Secure Our Schools (P.L. 106-386) program through the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, providing local law enforcement, school personnel and students with the tools they need to proactively prevent a threat. The legislation authorizes $50 million annually for state and local schools to make evidence-based investments in the development and operation of FBI & Secret Service-based school threat assessment teams to help schools to intake and triage threats before tragedy strikes; implement anonymous reporting systems for students in coordination with local law enforcement; administer training and technical assistance for students, school personnel and law enforcement to identify signs of violence and intervene early to prevent students from hurting themselves and others; facilitate coordination between schools and local law enforcement; and provide significant improvement in school security.
Additionally, 16 Florida Representatives have cosponsored this bill: Gus Bilirakis [R-12], Vern Buchanan [FL-16], Carlos Curbelo [FL-26], Ted Deutch [FL-22], Mario Diaz-Balart [R-25], Lois Frankel [D-21], Matt Gaetz [R-1], Al Lawson [D-5], Brian Mast [R-18], Bill Posey [R-8], Thomas Rooney [R-17], Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-27], Dennis Ross [R-15], Darren Soto [D-9], Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D-23], and Frederica Wilson [D-24].
Read the full bill text: Here.