The Senate began consideration last week of S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, with debate continuing in the coming week. Though not as high profile as background checks and other provisions, Title III of the legislation will be of interest to elementary and secondary schools, as well as institutions of higher education.
Title III, known as the "School and Campus Safety Enhancements Act," authorizes the establishment of an inter-agency task force to develop advisory school safety guidelines. The bill also amends a current Department of Justice grant program to authorize $40 million for school safety grants, adding allowable uses of funds for surveillance equipment and hotlines for reporting potentially dangerous students.
Section 305 authorizes sub-awards to colleges and universities and nonprofits to assist what would be a newly-authorized National Center for Campus Public Safety. The Center's activities would include education and training of public safety personnel of institutions of higher education, research, a clearinghouse for policies, procedures and best practices, the promotion of effective behavioral threat assessment and management models to prevent campus violence, and related.
Amendments are expected, but likely on the bigger ticket, non-education items.