School Safety Bill Passes in Wake of Florida High School Shooting

Last Wednesday, March 14, the United States House of Representatives passed the “Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018,” also known as the STOP School Violence Act. It was voted on and received the support of 407 Representatives, while 10 voted against the act being enacted. The STOP School Violence Act was passed as a preventative measure in an attempt to increase school safety. The objective of the STOP School Violence Act is to train teachers and law enforcement officers, as well as students, to recognize signs of potential school violence before the acts are committed. These training sessions will be administered to schools over the course of a decade. The Act will support this training by supplying schools with $50 million in grants. This money will allow schools to implement security measures, such as metal detectors, into their facilities and assist them in developing new systems to use for reporting incidents. The grants will allow officials across the nation to receive more training on the proper way to respond to crises involving mental health issues.

The STOP School Violence Act coincides with two events in American history. The first being the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting that occurred on Valentine’s Day in Florida. Following the devastating shooting, the students of the targeted school have led the Never Again movement, in which they advocate relentlessly for stricter gun control laws. Just last month, 100 students traveled to Tallahassee to talk to legislatures in an attempt to evoke change in how Florida views firearms. On March 14, students and schools across the nation also participated in the Walk Out protest. This protest was a direct response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting and was conducted on the one-month mark following it. During this protest, students walked out of their classrooms in protest of gun violence, stating that they had had enough of it and are demanding change.

Courtesy: CNN

While the STOP School Violence Act does not restrict gun rights, it is still an attempt to cut down on school shootings, however, some lawmakers feel that this is still not enough. Regardless, it does not arm teachers and expect them to defend themselves and their students. The latter is one of the common responses believed to curtail school shootings.

The STOP School Violence Act is not the sole response to the latest shooting in the United States. In fact, the state of Florida changed the required age to purchase a firearm. Previously, a Florida resident could be 18 and buy a gun; now a resident has to be 21 to obtain a gun. Florida has also banned the possession and sale of bump stocks. Bump stocks can be used to make a semi-automatic gun shoot like an assault rifle. The Senate may soon also vote on a bill that reflects the STOP School Violence Act in the near future. The U.S. government is slowly making progress in response to the shooting epidemic that the country has been suffering under for years. Although this change may not reflect what has been demanded of our government, advances have been made, so far, to prevent school shootings.