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Obama Proposes $150M for SROs in Schools

January 17, 2013  | 

President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to protect children and communities by reducing gun violence on Wednesday. Although much of it focused on closing background check loopholes and banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, there were several points specific to school security and to a lesser extent, university security.

"We need to make our schools safer, not only by enhancing their physical security and making sure they are prepared to respond to emergencies like a mass shooting, but also by creating safer and more nurturing school climates that help prevent school violence," the proposal states. "Each school is different and should have the flexibility to address its most pressing needs. Some schools will want trained and armed police; others may prefer increased counseling services. Either way, each district should be able to choose what is best to protect its own students."

Some specific points of the school safety proposal include:

  • Putting up to 1,000 more school resource officers (SROs) and counselors in schools
  • $150 million for school districts and law enforcement to hire SROs, school psychologists, social workers, and counselors. The grants could also be used to purchase safety equipment, develop and update plans, conduct threat assessments, and train crisis intervention teams. The General Services Administration will use its purchasing power to help schools buy safety equipment affordably.
  • The Department of Justice will also develop a model for using school resource officers, including best practices on age-appropriate methods for working with students.
  • The Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security will release—by May 2013—a set of model, high-quality emergency management plans for schools, houses of worship, and institutions of higher education, along with best practices for developing these plans and training students and staff to follow them. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Department of Justice, will assist interested schools, houses of worship, and institutions of higher education in completing their own security assessments.
  • $30 million one-time grants to states to help school districts development and implement emergency plans
  • $50 million initiative to help 8,000 more schools train their teachers and other school staff to implement strategies that foster a more nurturing environment. The Administration will also develop a school climate survey, providing reliable data to help schools implement policies to improve climate.
  • The Department of Education will collect and disseminate best practices for school discipline polices and help school districts develop and equitably implement their policies.
  • $15 million for training for teachers and other adults who interact with youth to detect and respond to mental illness in children and young adults, including how to encourage adolescents and families experiencing these problems to seek treatment
  • $40 million to help school districts work with law enforcement, mental health agencies, and other local organizations to ensure students with mental health issues or other behavioral issues are referred to the services they need
  • $25 million for innovative state-based strategies supporting young people ages 16 to 25 with mental health or substance abuse issues
  • $25 million to offer students mental health services for trauma or anxiety, conflict resolution programs, and other school-based violence prevention strategies
  • $50 million to train social workers, counselors, psychologists, and other mental health professionals

Read the full proposal

Tags: Campus Safety, School Resource Officers, Assault Weapons Ban, Grants


Comments (15)

Displaying 1 - 15 of 15

Doc @ 1/18/2013 1:41 AM

Gun control and "gun free zones" have been a failure for several years. The best thing to do is have a police officer, not a counselor, and to have a "standard" for making the schools safer. It should be noted that all of the shootings, as well as fatal stabbings, were connected with people that were already on medications or having withdrawal from these medications. The FDA should also monitor these medications, especially with used with under aged people.

JIM @ 1/18/2013 5:16 AM

I agree with "Doc,"but the problems entail restrictions on obtaining mental health/patient information by law enforcement, States having no centralized info on patients, lack of social services and a broken judicial system. Also, intense forensic studies by the F.B.I. on the past shooters should yield information of signs the average person can be taught through pamphlets, media, etc. about what to look for in trying to I.D. a potentially dangerous person.

oldcop @ 1/18/2013 8:51 AM

The sad part is most of the time and money will be thrown at banning the tools used to commit these crimes and not dealing with the real problems. If we did all of our enforcement centered around banning crowbars because that is the most used tool in burglaries we would be acused of neglecting our job. This country just needs to get back to real punishment for real crimes and quit passing more laws. We have already made our laws so extensive and complex that we are making criminals out of people that are honest in nature. There is something really wrong with a system that requires an attorney with four years of college studing the law to tell us if we broke the law. If it is that complex it is a bad law. Maybe that ought to be the next ban we have, ban attorneys.

njmotorcop @ 1/18/2013 10:45 AM

Looks to me like an awful lot of our money being wasted on even more of his useless touchy-feely programs, the type of programs that can never be criticized because their results can't be measured or evaluated. Oldcop is right, too many nitpicking laws written by too many dishonest politicians and lawyers. This is a parenting problem and if the left hadn't deliberately destroyed the family unit we wouldn't have these problems!

John Schelly @ 1/18/2013 11:14 AM

Live in North Mississippi, we have police officers in our schools in the city I live in and have had for years !

brett @ 1/18/2013 11:54 AM

All that money needs to be put into SROs and school security officers. The government needs to stop wasting money on ineffective and unmeasurable programs. Politicians think if they throw a lot of good money at a program that "sounds good" then they've done a good job. If they'll remove their head from their butt they might have a much better perspective.

john @ Iowa retired @ 1/18/2013 7:15 PM

Here is a crazy idea, that doesn't cost the tax payers. How about two parents raising their children, rather than day care raising thier children? While your at it how about teaching them responsibility?

LEONARD MCCARTHY @ 1/18/2013 9:59 PM

Would anything on the list have prevented the shooting at Newtown?

The shooter, Adam Lanza, was being "HOME SCHOOLED,” so that eliminates the need of the proposed school related training, counselors, and mental health recognition programs.

Not conducting a more thorough ‟back ground” prior to sales of guns, etc. Since Lanza actually ‟stole” the weapon from his mother and then killed her with it, there was no ‟back ground” issue.

When the police arrived, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Would having a School Resource Officer (SRO) or even an armed teacher, stopped Lanza from shooting even one person? The SRO, assuming there was one actually on the school grounds at the time, would not have even known about what was taking place until the first shot was fired.

As disturbing as the Newtown shooting was, the incident was not the deadliest of violence related school deaths. The worst school shooting in United States history, was the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the deadliest mass murder at an American elementary school was the 1927 Bath School bombings in Michigan, with the later not even involving a firearm.

At the Newton incident, the police found three firearms with Lanza: a .223-caliber Bushmaster XM-15 rifle, a 10mm Glock 20SF handgun and a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun. Also, a shotgun was found in the car Lanza had driven to the school and at home, Lanza had access to three more firearms: a .45 Henry repeating rifle, a .30 Enfield rifle, and a .22 Marlin rifle. So even if there was a ban on ‟ASSAULT TYPE” rifles, he still had plenty of choices for weapons, including using a bomb.

I just do not understand why, because of the ABHORRENT ACTIONS OF ONE PERSON, the rest of the United States population has to be penalized. To me, it makes all of the proposed FEDERAL SPENDING OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, seem like a ‟knee-jerk reaction”

Dan @ 1/19/2013 7:56 AM

@leonard

A knee jerk reaction can be seen by reading these posts. You lost the election, quit trying to categorize everything as a loss of liberty by a tyrannical dictator. These are all fairly reasonable steps.

John @ 1/20/2013 2:50 AM

Dan, Police Magazine is for professional law enforcement personnel and their supporters. The vast majority of readers seem to be very pro gun. So, please stop being an attention seeking little bitch and refrain from posting comments. Try reading Redbook or Ladies Home Journal, it's probably more your style.

Frank @ 1/20/2013 7:50 AM

Well how in the hell does one stop this gun ban stupidy? I guess we are all criminals in the minds of the Obama Administration and his supporters. If you been on this earth for any length of time you will realize that about every decade you lose a few more of your rights and freedom. Try sitting down with a pad of paper and list all the things you use to be able to do with no friction from your Local or Federal government. Fishing anyone?

Dan @ 1/20/2013 1:25 PM

@john

So are you trying to say being a professional law enforcement officer requires me to have a "gun free for all" mindset and to be anti-Obama? The problem is I don't like cops or anyone for that matter who thinks the next step is Obama kicking down my door and taking my guns. It's not going to happen. It's as ridiculous as people claiming Bush had a hand in 9/11.

A reasonable approach will include consideration from multiple sides. This ideal is a good start. He is proposing 150m for ARMED SROs and only 30m for mental health. He is doing part of what the NRA called for and you guys are still complaining. He isn't talking about unilateral action on an assault rifle ban but is calling for congress to act and yet you still call him a tyrant. Give me a break.

Frank @ 1/21/2013 5:26 AM

@Dan Your comments regarding Obama may be true. But he's pushing the hell out of Gun Control which in turn has made liberal politicians in the state of Massachusetts and many other states go after the law-abiding people who had no hand in any shooting. I call this WildFire! He knows he started the blaze across this country with his rhetoric and can sit back and watch ignorant people push his agenda. We both know if Obama could with the swipe of a pen outlaw guns he would. Massachusetts Govenor Patrick is one who is involved in the Wildfire. The state that has the third worst gun laws in the country will now attempt to increase the taxes in the state too. So are we better off? Look at the stats for shootings in Boston, Gang related not CCW people shooting each other. The government in general should be held responsible for 1. Not enforcing gun laws. 2. Addressing mental health in this country. Today everyone thinks Outpatient Treatment is giving them a bill and then billing the State for services. These people are free to roam and when they do commit a crime I hear a cry from the ignorant people " well he sick, mental illness is a diease".

Billy @ 1/24/2013 6:44 PM

Let's see, in FY-12 the Federal government spent $108 billion on improper payments; money sent to the wrong people and/or overpayments. $220 million was spent on Obama's second inauguration, but he's only going to allocate $150 million for SRO's in school to protect our kids and grandkids? What's wrong with that picture???

marshal @ 2/4/2013 5:47 AM

more guns in the schools are not needed. here is a short version due to space. Have cameras, electric locks and metal gates at every door and hallway. If someone breaks in or a suspicious person is seen in the area then a "panic button" is pressed and all the doors lock and the gates drop. Teachers can still let kids in a room if the kid is out in the hall. In a big school even with an officer who is at the other end of the school, a lot of damage can be done before he gets to the shooter. Secure the schools first. Oh and what about the playgrounds? No one has addressed those issues yet either.

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