Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, introduced the Securing Our Students Act, legislation to redirect unused American Rescue Plan funding to help identify and implement evidence-based school safety measures. Of the $122 billion appropriated to America’s K-12 schools in last year’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, roughly 93% remains unspent.
“As we continue to mourn the innocent victims of the horrific tragedy in Uvalde, we continue our work to identify real solutions that address the root causes of violence and improve school safety,” said Rep. Owens. “From threat prevention to classroom protection, my bill redirects leftover funding from the American Rescue Plan to help local schools implement evidence-driven safety measures that protect our children and foster safe learning environments. Congress should act quickly to pass the Securing Our Students Act to help prevent future acts of senseless violence.”
“We want our nation’s children to be loved, happy, safe, and successful. That includes ensuring every student has the opportunity to learn in a safe and supportive environment – free from the fear of violence. The Securing Our Students Act will ensure local leaders and schools can implement solutions to protect students in our classrooms.” – Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Specifically, the Securing Our Students Act would:
- Clarify that school districts and non-public schools can immediately amend their plans under the American Rescue Plan and use those funds to address their school safety needs.
- Include broad categories of uses, a requirement for the funds to be used to meet the specific need of the school, that the measures implemented are evidence-based, and that there is an accounting of the funds used for these purposes.
- Require states to act expeditiously in approving any amendments to the plans so that schools may begin improving their school safety needs without delay.