Press releases

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) today introduced the Safe Schools Act to use any unspent COVID relief funds provided through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund for school security measures. Schools in Louisiana and across the country could use money from the program to harden their facilities against safety threats.

“We need to keep our kids and teachers safe, and we know what works. The federal government already has $150 billion that local communities can use to protect students with security officers, school perimeters, mental health resources and more. The Safe Schools Act would use those resources to make our schools safer now,” said Kennedy.

“While we made some progress in previous legislation to make our schools stronger, harder, and safer, certainly there is more that can and must be done immediately to protect kids. What happened in Uvalde was a horrific tragedy. While many have been quick to play politics, one thing we can all agree on is that Congress must act to harden schools. For these reasons, I am introducing this legislation that allows the abundance of unused COVID relief dollars to be allocated to secure schools in Kansas and throughout the nation,” said Marshall.

$150 billion of the $189.5 billion provided to schools through this fund remain unspent. Under current law, states can obligate and spend this money through the end of 2024.

The Safe Schools Act would allow schools to use this funding to hire and retain armed school resource officers.

In addition, schools could use the money to provide:

  • locks, 
  • security cameras and systems,
  • fencing, 
  • violence-prevention programs,
  • anonymous reporting systems,
  • threat assessment and intervention teams,
  • training for school officials to respond to mental health crises,
  • technology to quickly notify local law enforcement during an emergency,
  • entry control measures for school campuses and
  • other safety measures.

Text of the bill is available here.