Tennessee’s U.S. Senators Propose $900 Million Grant Program For School Security
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-WV) questions Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, former head of security at Twitter, during a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on data security at Twitter, on Capitol Hill, September 13, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Days after the deadly mass shooting at a private Christian grade school in Nashville, Tennessee’s two U.S. senators announced they will introduce legislation to fund ways to better protect public and private schools around the country.

At the heart of the bill, which will be called the The Securing Aid for Every (SAFE) School Act, is a $900 million grant program, according to Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN).

A fact sheet for Blackburn and Hagerty’s bill says states will be able use the grant money in a number of ways, including to train and hire veterans and former law enforcement officers to serve as school safety officers, hire off duty law enforcement officers, and provide funding to harden schools and increase physical security.

The legislation offers an alternative to the gun control measures being pushed by Democrats, including President Joe Biden, following the shooting at The Covenant School that resulted in the deaths of three children and three faculty members. The shooter, a woman who identified as transgender, was killed by law enforcement.

“I am beyond heartbroken at the shooting that occurred at the Covenant School in Nashville,” Blackburn said in a statement. “No parent should have to endure what these families are experiencing. Schools should be places where children are safe to learn, play, and be children.”

“By providing these critical funds, we can help protect our precious children and secure our schools,” she added.

Blackburn, who has pushed similar legislation in the past, and Hagerty said they have the support of Tennessee leaders, school safety advocates, and veterans, along with local, state and federal law enforcement officials and organizations. Among them is Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who said he commends Blackburn and Hagerty “for proposing legislation to secure public and private schools across the nation.”

Their fact sheet noted that Tennessee already has a training program for school resource officers but stressed the SAFE School would not disrupt that program. Rather, it would “provide supplemental resources in addition to the resources provided by other programs, like Tennessee’s Safe Schools Act,” the document notes.


“The heroic bravery of law enforcement officers and first responders who quickly ran into danger, as well as the actions of teachers, staff, and students who deployed security measures, saved many other lives and underscore the critical role of school-security planning and personnel in the face of depraved, evil acts,” Hagerty said in a statement. “That’s why I’ve joined Senator Blackburn in introducing this legislation to provide additional security resources to keep our schools and children safe.”

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