WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 5242, the School Resource Officer Assessment Act. The bill is the first of Congressman Higgins’ two school safety bills to advance for floor consideration.
Congressman Higgins’ remarks are below:
“Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5242, the School Resource Officer Assessment Act of 2018 as amended. I am the author of this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, so far in 2018 there have been 21 school shootings that have resulted in injuries or loss of life. While it is impossible for us to anticipate every attempt, and impossible to enact regulations that would prevent them, one thing we can do is ensure that honorable, patriotic, public servants are available to guard our schools, students, and teachers against acts of violence.
Considering the recent string of school shootings, it has become clear to me that increasing the use of School Resource Officers (SROs) should play a major role in protecting our schools. Currently, there are 95,230 public schools in the United States (US). Our research has clarified that hard data does not exist regarding law enforcement officer assets at these schools. We estimate, and we can only estimate, that there may be a 30% utilization of school resource officers across the nation.
Mr. Speaker, the first step in promoting school safety is evaluating what SRO assets we have on the ground and how public schools are using them. After we have a clear understanding of the field, we in Congress will be able to more effectively direct resources to where they are most needed.
That is why I have introduced this bill.
My bill would simply give Congress the information we need to make effective decisions regarding school safety by requiring the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Secretary of Education to gather data regarding the number and status of school resource officers assigned to each public school in the United States.
My bill is a common-sense, information-gathering bill that has bipartisan support and has been endorsed by the National Association of School Resource Officers.
This legislation is the first piece of several initiatives I will be introducing and supporting to secure our schools.
I would like to thank Chairwoman Foxx and Ranking Member Scott at the Education and Workforce Committee and their staffs for their help in getting this bill to the floor. I would also like to thank the cosponsors of my bill, in particular, Rep. Ruppersberger for his help in this process.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this common-sense legislation.
I yield back.”