Is the U.S. Senate using $40m school safety program as cover for gun control bill?

Apr 3, 2013 by

WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Senate is expected to vote later this month on The School and Campus Safety Enhancement Act, legislation that would establish $40 million in annual grants that states and local governments could use to improve school security.

“The legislation has a bipartisan pair of lawmakers behind it: U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer, D—Calif., and Susan Collins, R—Maine, which should help politically,” notes Education Week.

The legislation would provide money to states and local governments to purchase “lights, fences, new classroom locks, and new doors, as well as surveillance equipment,” Education Week reports. “Schools could also use the money to train teachers and administrators on security, and to work with local law enforcement officials. Districts could also use the funds to set up hotlines or tip lines for ‘the reporting of potentially dangerous students and situations.’”

The Boxer-Collins bill would also expand the federal bureaucracy by creating a National Center for Campus Public Safety, “which would provide research and training to help keep universities secure,” the news site adds.

Education Weekly reports the school safety component “has a ton of fans in the education community.”

The grant program seems to be the most popular part of the federal government’s forthcoming gun control legislation, which is expected to include a controversial provision to require universal background checks for all gun purchases.

If Sens. Boxer and Collins believe their safety grant plan is essential to ensuring student safety, they should insist that their bill be “de-linked” from other gun control measures that are far less certain of passing Congress and eventually getting signed into law by President Obama.

What appears more likely is that Senate leaders will insist on packaging the school safety measures with their gun control plans, as a way of framing the legislation as pro-school safety instead of as anti-gun ownership.

That would lead some Americans to think Congress is cynically using the school safety grant proposal as a pretense for passing politically unpopular gun control laws.

Treating the school safety grant program as a political football would be an unseemly way of treating a potentially worthy idea.

via Is the U.S. Senate using $40m school safety program as cover for gun control bill? – :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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