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Sandy Hook Promise Applauds Bipartisan Introduction of Critical School Safety Legislation entitled the STOP School Violence Act of 2018, Urging Swift Passage in Congress
Newtown, CT – January 31, 2018 – In the first weeks of 2018, we have had 11 school shootings including the fatal tragedy last week in Benton, Kentucky. We know that violence in our schools, including suicide, bullying, and mass shootings, is preventable through proven early intervention programs and training. Following tragedies like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, the federal government has funded short-term school safety initiatives focused on crisis response, active shooters, and physical infrastructure. While these are important investments, we have not yet seen sustained strategies` to curb youth violence or stop suicides and violence in our schools before they happen. Our students, educators, and local law enforcement need the tools and support to take proactive and continuous steps towards improving school safety.
Sandy Hook Promise praises U.S. Congressmen John Rutherford (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-KY), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) for introducing the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018.
“No child should fear going to school and no other parents should have to know the pain of losing their child in a school shooting. We can stop violence in our schools by training our students and their educators to know the signs and intervene. We are proud to support this legislation that will ensure that millions more schools will be trained in prevention and lives will be saved,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and the father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.
“As a 40-year career law enforcement officer, I know firsthand the importance of identifying signs of trouble and intervening in a situation before it escalates to violence,” stated Congressman Rutherford. “The best way to keep our students and teachers safe is to prevent tragedy before it occurs. Our bill takes important steps to do just that by encouraging local schools to partner with local law enforcement to learn how to identify threats, so that incidents can be stopped before they occur, saving lives and preventing violence. No parent should have to be fearful of sending their child to school, and I thank my colleagues for joining me in the effort to enhance school safety.”
“Just since the beginning of the year, we’ve had at least eleven shootings on school property. This shouldn’t be how schools begin a new semester,” said Congressman Deutch. “Children and teachers must feel safe in their classrooms. This bill is a sensible and meaningful approach to gun violence in schools by equipping students, teachers, and administrators with the tools to identify possible signs of violence and respond appropriately.”
The legislation invests in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens by authorizing the Department of Justice to make grants to states for the purposes of training students, school personnel, and law enforcement to identify signs of violence and intervene to prevent people from hurting themselves or others. The legislation also permits the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems, and formation of school threat assessment and intervention teams to help schools intake and triage threats before tragedy strikes.
“In Kentucky, we were gravely reminded last week of the dire need for more effective prevention efforts in our schools to curb violence and reach our troubled youth before another heartbreaking tragedy occurs,” said Congressman Rogers. “We clearly need to do more to help our students on both sides of the equation: both bullies and their victims need more comprehensive intervention in our schools. It is my hope that Congress will take quick action to pass this worthy life-saving bill, which also gives teachers and staff additional support.”
“When our kids go to school, they should be excited about the day ahead — not fearful for their safety,” Congressman Kilmer said. “This legislation will give teachers, students and administrators the tools and resources necessary to stop school violence before it starts. This is a great first step in making our schools safer, and I hope this bipartisan effort leads to future action that directly addresses the specific threat of gun violence in schools.”
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. SHP’s mission is to prevent gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults to identify, intervene and get help for at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human-side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.
For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.