Politics

Westerman Cosponsors School Safety and Mental Health Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) joined Richard Hudson (R-NC) to introduce the STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act. This legislation builds on the STOP School Violence Act, signed into law in 2018, to authorize $1 billion for school resource officers, $1 billion for mental health guidance counselors, and $5 billion for hardening schools, providing active shooter training, and ensuring that law enforcement, school officials, and students know how to intervene before a student reaches a breaking point. The $7 billion legislation is fully paid for with already approved, but unused COVID-19 funds.

“I joined Rep. Hudson to introduce STOP II, the Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act, to provide states the resources they need to address mental health concerns and strengthen school security,” said Rep. Westerman. “The legislation put forward this week by my friends across the aisle is an emotionally charged band-aid that will do little to protect Americans or make schools safer. Preventing gun violence is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Through this bill, we will empower communities to devote resources to the areas where they see need, instead of imposing the weight of the federal government on law abiding citizens who would never engage in violence.”

“As a dad of a child in elementary school, I want to do everything possible to protect children in schools. Instead of gun control that threatens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, this legislation is targeted to make schools safer, improve mental health, and save lives,” said Rep. Hudson. “Many are saying ‘do something.’ I say let’s do something that matters. The STOP II Act will actually prevent school shootings and is one of numerous solutions by House Republicans to address the problems we face.”

In addition to $7 billion to fund school resources officers and mental health guidance counselors, STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act closes loopholes in school security by allowing schools to apply under the STOP School Violence Act for grants to complete risk assessments and identify gaps in mental health services for students. It also codifies a clearinghouse at the Department of Homeland Security to assess, identify, and share best practices related to school safety.

To improve emergency preparedness, STOP II requires federal agencies to continuously update, develop, and provide training materials on bullying and cyberbullying, emergency planning, mental health, and targeted violence to help schools prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from a range of school safety threats, hazards, and emergency situations.
 
Original cosponsors to the STOP II Act include Reps. Austin Scott (GA-08), Greg Murphy (NC-03), Steve Womack (AR-03), Don Bacon (NE-02), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Brad Wenstrup (OH-02), Mike Johnson (LA-04), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), David Joyce (OH-14), John Joyce (PA-13), Rodney Davis (IL-13), and John Curtis (UT-03).

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