Mere days after a shooter killed three 9-year-old students and three staff members at a private Christian school in Nashville, Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee introduced a new bill that would funnel $900 million worth of taxpayer dollars to both public and private schools to hire armed security and “harden” classrooms with enhanced physical defenses.
The Securing Aid for Every (SAFE) School Act, if passed, will give states financial leverage to establish training and licensing programs for veterans and former law enforcement officers to protect private and public schoolchildren from threats like shooters. It will also offer grants to schools to install surveillance cameras, metal detectors, alarm systems, and locks in hallways and classrooms.
“Schools should be places where children are safe to learn, play, and be children. And every parent should have the confidence that when they send their children off to school, they will return home safely. We must work together to protect our children at school and that means increasing security,” Blackburn said.
Unlike government schools which already receive taxpayer dollars to harden their buildings, private schools are often left to find and fund school resource officers (SROs) on their own. Historically speaking, that means schools like Covenant, which did not have an armed security guard at the time of the tragedy, are the kinds of soft targets murderous shooters seek.
Data shows good guys with guns and strict physical security measures deter and stop bad guys. Metropolitan Nashville Police Department confirmed this not just with officers’ rapid and effective response but when it revealed that the suspect planned to hit another location but was discouraged by “too much security.”
Yet, both public and private Christian schools have difficulty affording and retaining school resource officers.
More and more states including Tennessee want to mandate that schools hire armed guards to patrol campus during educational hours but Democrats have repeatedly rejected legislation designed to sponsor and codify security overhauls that would keep American students from being sitting ducks. Their activist allies, similarly, say no one including teachers should carry in the classroom.
Proponents of hardening schools say Congress should act swiftly to pass this legislation so that lives across the nation will be saved from future tragedies.
“We can’t predict where or when the next school shooting will happen, but we know how it will be stopped: by a security officer with a gun,” Andrew Pollack, father of Parkland victim Meadow Pollack, said. “The police reacted bravely in Nashville, but in a shooting every second matters and the SAFE School Act will save lives by ensuring that more schools are guarded by armed security officers.”