Ripon Advance

Rounds sponsors Security to Avoid Violence in Educational Settings Act

By Ripon Advance News Service

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) recently proposed legislation to create a new U.S. Department of Justice grant program that would reallocate $500 million in funding over five years to states, which would provide subgrants to local K-12 schools and school systems to improve school safety and security.

“The first responsibility of any school is to provide for the safety of all students,” Sen. Rounds said. “When it comes to our kids, it should not be a one-size-fits-all approach.”

The Security to Avoid Violence in Educational Settings (SAVES) Act, S. 4776, which Sen. Rounds sponsored on Aug. 4 with lead cosponsor U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), would permit states and local schools, rather than federal agencies, to determine how to utilize grant money to bolster school safety, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Rounds’ office.

“South Dakota has schools of many sizes and needs. Decisions about education are best made at the state and local levels,” said Sen. Rounds. “This bill would allow states and local schools to determine how to improve school safety in a manner that best fits their needs.”

According to the summary, the new grant program would not cost taxpayers any additional money and instead would be funded by the transfer of funds appropriated in last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements at public school facilities.

With the redirected funds, schools could purchase metal detectors and pay for school security officers, for example, the summary says.

S. 4776 has been referred for consideration to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.