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Rep. Mike Garcia Introduces Bill to Improve School Safety

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On July 10, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA), introduced a bill that aims to enhance and improve school security in light of the recent attacks perpetrated against educational institutions in the last month, such as the unfortunate mass shooting carried out in Uvalde, Texas, which provoked intense criticism against the police for alleged negligence in their duties.

According to a press release sent to El American, the bill introduced by the congressman, called the “Strengthening School Security for Students Act,” seeks to “provide funding for schools to hire and train at least two School Resource Officers (SROs) per 500 students to improve school security and protect students from potential threats.”

“Our children should feel safe and secure when they get to school every day. Recent tragic events have proven the critical need for increased law enforcement and security in our schools. My bill, the ‘Strengthening School Security for Students Act,’ would train and hire more SROs across school campuses nationwide through the repurposing of unused COVID relief funds,” Mike Garcia said of the legislation.

La ley que propone el congresista Mike García para mejorar la seguridad en las escuelas tras tiroteos masivos
Washington (United States), 09/17/2020.- House Homeland Security Committee member Mike Garcia (D-CA) (C) listens to testimony from FBI Director Christopher Wray (R) during a hearing on “global threats to the homeland” in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 17, 2020. (EFE)

In his press release, the Republican representative criticizes that, in February 2021, the Los Angeles Unified School Board (LAUSD) “voted to cut a third of its school police force and keep officers off of school campuses” to divert a total of $25 million to inclusive policies targeting African-American students.

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That cutback cost 133 Los Angeles School Police Department officers their jobs and also meant a ban on the use of pepper spray on students.

“While other California school districts have doubled down on school safety in recent weeks, LAUSD has refused to bring law enforcement back on campus for students’ protection,” the press release reads.

Uvalde (United States), 05/30/2022.- People pay respect to the victims at a daycare center in Uvalde where chairs represent each of the victims as a memorial after the shooting at Robb Elementary School. The mass shooting in Texas sparked a national debate on how to increase security at educational institutions. (EFE)

Likewise, the representative also explained that, “according to recent data,” only 45% of schools have an SRO on campus at least once a week. “However, properly-trained SROs have proven to be a meaningful deterrent to violence at schools, and in the event of shootings can stop criminals and save lives.”

“The uptick in school shootings has made it clear that we need to establish effective deterrents. My legislation will help ensure schools are no longer soft targets for evil actors” … Mike García said. “The increase in SRO presence and improvement of SRO training would effectively mitigate threats to our students’ safety.”

According to the bill, the funds to finance this initiative would come from the leftover funds from the “American Rescue Plan”, which amount to more than $140 billion. In this way, the expense generated by the legislation would be offset.