Submitted by the office of Rep. Rick Larsen
On March 14, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) continued his commitment to school safety by voting for legislation that supports school threat assessment teams, anonymous reporting systems for students and training to better identify signs of violence.
“Schools must be a place where children feel safe. The STOP School Violence Act will fund critical resources to keep students safe including counselors, mental health assistance, and conflict resolution,” said Larsen. “The STOP School Violence Act is a step in the right direction to address the threat of gun violence in schools across the U.S. I am pleased that it provides funding for physical deterrent measures such as emergency communication technologies, entrance control locks and lighting. These are commonsense security measures that I have long advocated for.”
Since he was elected, Larsen has consistently been a leader in school safety. Larsen has advocated for the Critical Incident Planning and Mapping System in Washington state which provides maps and blueprints of schools, school crisis plans, hazardous material inventories, interior photographs and staff contact lists to assist law enforcement officials in responding to school shootings and other emergencies.
In 2014, following a tragic shooting in Washington’s Second District at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Larsen met with school administrators, police officers and the community to discuss school safety. As a result of these meetings, he introduced the School Safety Act, which would reauthorize the Secure Our Schools program. This grant program, last authorized from 2002-2011, provides matching grants to state, local and tribal governments to boost school safety resources. The grants also provide security training for personnel and students along with coordination with local law enforcement.
Earlier this month, Larsen joined Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) on a bipartisan letter requesting $150 million for Secure Our Schools grants in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus bill, more than nine times the amount that has ever been appropriated.
Additionally, Larsen formed the School Safety Caucus in 2016 to provide a forum for Congress to figure out the best ways for schools to approach their safety needs and to push for investments in security and other safety measures.
Larsen remains concerned that the president’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget cuts funding to prevent crime and recover from tragedies in schools. Counselors, mental health assistance, school safety and conflict resolution are all resources critical in preventing and recovering from tragedies like the one at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. He will continue to advocate for school safety resources that keep students safe.