On Tuesday, Senator Rick Scott formally introduced his School Guardian Act, which he initially outlined last month following the tragic shooting at a Nashville school. The School Guardian Act creates a block grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice to support the hiring of one or more law enforcement officers to provide full-time security at every K-12 school in the country. This bill builds on Senator Scott’s efforts as Governor of Florida to improve school safety with increased law enforcement and security measures following the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. This bill is endorsed by Stand with Parkland, the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association. The full video from today’s press conference will be available HERE later today.
Senator Rick Scott said, “Following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, five years ago, we worked hard to make significant changes and establish measures to increase law enforcement in schools. Thanks to this work, and the landmark legislation we passed, every public school in Florida has an armed police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or an individual who has completed the rigorous training to keep our students safe from harm. The recent shooting of innocent children and educators in Nashville showed us that we need to do better to keep our schools safe, and that starts by bringing effective ideas like our Guardian Program to every school across our nation. These brave individuals are willing and able to step up and protect our kids and teachers from those who wish to do them harm.
“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 to provide block grants to states so they can increase school security at every school and keep kids safe. I hope my colleagues agree and support its quick passage.”
Tony Montalto, President of Stand With Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools, said, “On behalf of Stand with Parkland, we are proud to endorse Senator Rick Scott’s School Guardian Act to help put trained law enforcement officers in every school. After the tragic shooting at Parkland, we worked closely with then-Governor Scott to make effective changes like this to keep Florida’s schools safe, and we’ve continued this fight to bring change across the nation. No family should have to go through the indescribable heartbreak of having their child or spouse murdered at school. It is essential that parents feel comfortable sending kids to school every day. Knowing their children are protected from danger with a specially selected and highly trained officer standing guard as this bill provides will help do that for all America’s families.”
Florida Sheriffs Association President and Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said, “The sheriffs greatly appreciate the consistent leadership that Senator Rick Scott brings to D.C. During his time as Florida’s Governor, Senator Scott brought statewide law enforcement leaders together to develop historic school safety policy in record time after the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting that rocked our nation. Senator Scott was innovative at that time to create legislation that was foundational for Florida, and he continues to do so. Florida’s sheriffs are proud that he is bringing strong school safety legislation to the entire nation with the School Guardian Act.”
Florida Police Chiefs President and Fellsmere Chief Keith Touchberry said, “The Florida Police Chiefs Association is proud to stand with Senator Rick Scott in support of his School Guardian Act. Every student deserves to focus on their education without fear, and placing well-trained law enforcement officers in schools fosters a safer learning environment. As Governor, Senator Scott led the effort after the Parkland tragedy to visibly strengthen law enforcement’s presence in Florida’s schools, and now his leadership on this issue at the Federal level promises to make our country safer.”
The School Guardian Act will:
- Create a block grant program administered by the U.S. Attorney General to provide federal funding to support the placement of armed law enforcement personnel at every K-12 school in the nation. This would be funded by reallocating currently unused portions of the $80 billion appropriated to the IRS in the Inflation Reduction Act.
- These block grants would be administered at the state level by a state’s chief law enforcement agency;
- All K-12 schools (both public and private) are eligible to participate in and benefit from this program; and
- Unused/unobligated portions of the block grant must be returned to DOJ by the state at the end of each fiscal year.
- Set forth reporting requirements from each state to the DOJ as well as an annual report from DOJ to Congress documenting the number of law enforcement officers hired using grant monies, as well as the total amount of unused funds returned by the states in the prior fiscal year, disaggregated by state.