Scott Statement on the Passage of HR 4909
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the passage of H.R. 4909, the “STOP School Violence Act of 2018” [407-10]. Democrats will continue the conversation on school safety next week at our forum entitled, ‘Preventing School Shootings: A Comprehensive Approach.’
“Today’s vote is a positive first step, but more must be done.
“I am pleased that H.R. 4909 rejects President Trump and Secretary DeVos’ misguided proposal to arm teachers by prohibiting program funds from being used to buy guns or firearms training for school staff. While I applaud the bill’s provisions to support implementation of evidence-based staff training and school-based threat assessments, I remain concerned with any federal efforts to increase law enforcement presence in schools.
“In the years since the Columbine school shooting, school districts rushed to hire more school resource officers. Since then, thousands of children of color and students with disabilities have entered the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ due to school-based arrests for what should be treated as routine behavior violations. My concern grows more urgent in light of the Trump administration’s efforts to rollback civil rights protections. Shockingly, in the wake of last month’s school shooting, Congressional Republicans and Secretary DeVos are placing the blame for this public health crisis - not on guns - but on civil rights protections for students of color.
“I urge legislative improvements to this bill before it becomes law to ensure any ‘hardening’ of schools does not jeopardize educational opportunity for vulnerable students. I also urge Secretary DeVos and Attorney General Sessions to maintain existing guidance on school discipline and school resource officers to ensure that the bill’s new violence prevention program does not disproportionately harm students of color.
“H.R. 4909 rightly shifts the federal focus to support implementation of evidence-based violence prevention, but Congress must do more to prevent school shootings. The ‘STOP School Violence Act’ is an insufficient response to the calls of millions of students, parents, and teachers without subsequent action by Congress to enact common sense gun control legislation. Enough is enough.”