Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has introduced the School Guardian Act, a bill that aims to increase school safety by placing armed law enforcement officers in every K-12 school in the United States. This initiative is a response to tragic school shootings, such as the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and the Nashville school shooting this year. It intends to prevent and address similar incidents in the future.
The School Guardian Act proposes the reallocation of approximately $80 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, funds initially authorized to expand the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), towards establishing a block grant program. This program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice, would provide financial support for the full-time employment of one or more police officers at each K-12 school in the country.
Sen. Scott formally introduced his School Guardian Act, which he initially outlined last month following the tragic shooting at a Nashville school. https://t.co/xIZb1tWxqj
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Senator Scott stated, “There’ll be an armed police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or individual who has completed the rigorous training produced through the Guardian program at all these schools.” The Guardian program’s primary purpose is to ensure that the individuals assigned to protect these schools are adequately trained and prepared for possible threats.
Endorsed by Stand with Parkland, the Florida Sheriffs Association, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the School Guardian Act has garnered substantial support from victims’ families and law enforcement organizations. Tony Montalto, President of Stand with Parkland, said, “No family should have to go through the indescribable heartbreak of having their child or spouse murdered at school.”
The School Guardian Act is built upon previous efforts by Senator Scott to improve school safety when he was the Governor of Florida. After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Scott worked closely with law enforcement leaders to establish measures that increased security in Florida’s schools.
Florida Sheriffs Association President and Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis expressed gratitude for Senator Scott’s leadership, stating, “Florida’s sheriffs are proud that he is bringing strong school safety legislation to the entire nation with the School Guardian Act.”
In addition to benefiting public schools, the proposed legislation extends its protection to private schools. The bill sets forth reporting requirements for each state to the Department of Justice. It mandates annual reports from the Department to Congress, documenting the number of officers hired and the total amount of unused funds returned by each state in the prior fiscal year.
Scott emphasized the importance of reprioritizing federal funding to protect students and educators, saying, “Instead of spending billions of dollars to expand the IRS to go after American taxpayers, Washington can send a powerful message to parents about our true priorities by dedicating these funds to the School Guardian Act.”
The School Guardian Act would mark a significant step towards safeguarding the nation’s schools and ensuring that parents can send their children to school knowing they are protected from harm.