A bipartisan group of 20 senators–10 Republicans and 10 Democrats–agreed on the outlines of a proposal on preventing gun violence oover the weekend
The nine-point proposal, developed in response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and other high-profile mass shootings in the last month, includes financial support to address school safety and school mental health. “Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” according to a statement released by the group of 20. “Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons.”
The proposal includes the following items that would provide direct support for school violence prevention in K-12 settings:
- Funding for school-based mental health and support: The proposal would invest in programs “to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs and school-based mental health and wrap-around services.”
- Funding for school safety resources: The proposal would fund initiatives that implement safety measures “in and around primary and secondary schools,” as well as provide training for school staff and students and support other efforts to prevent school violence.
Legislators have not yet released a bill. However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said “Once the text of this agreement is finalized. I will put this bill on the floor as soon as possible so the Senate can act quickly.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressed appreciation for the “bipartisan product” produced by the group of 20, signaling potential support for the legislation once it reaches the floor.
At least one national education group expressed support for the agreement. “At this time of crisis, when educators and kids can’t be assured their schools are safe, the standard should not be ‘is this everything we want?’ but ‘will this save lives?’,” said American Federation of Teachers
President Randi Weingarten in a statement. “This bipartisan Senate framework meets the moment — and must be approved by Congress and signed into law as quickly as possible.”
Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for LRP Publications