In-Depth: Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced this bill to expand the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) with a greater focus on school violence prevention:
"The Secret Service's Threat Assessment Center was created to help train communities to prevent the kinds of targeted violence that threaten them. Sadly, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School endured a tragedy that resulted in the loss of 17 Eagles. This bill will prevent violence in other communities across the country. We should use this effective model of assessing threats and developing trainings in order to prevent any more school shootings in any other community. I'm proud of this bipartisan plan to leverage some of our government's best resources to tackle this heart-breaking and preventable crisis."
Original cosponsor Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) adds:
“Over the years, I have been personally involved in working towards making our communities and schools a safer place. The safety of our children is of the utmost importance for every family. All parents should feel confident that when they drop their child off at school, that child is in a safe environment. That is why school safety should remain a top priority in our country, and that begins by taking the appropriate measures to prevent targeted violence and school violence. I am honored to co-lead this legislation, and I thank Congressman Deutch for his leadership on this issue.”
Senate sponsor Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says:
“The U.S. Secret Service has unique and unparalleled experience in identifying threats to safety and preventing tragedies. This bill builds on the Secret Service’s case study research on targeted school violence and enables the National Threat Assessment Center to train more of our nation’s schools in how to conduct threat assessments and early interventions. Equipping our communities and schools with training and best practices to recognize and prevent school violence is an important step toward preventing future tragedies, and an important way to honor victims of school violence.”
Original Senate cosponsor Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) adds:
“To prevent future tragedies like Parkland, a multi-pronged approach is needed to ensure that threats do not fall through the cracks. By providing funding to the National Threat Assessment Center, top-notch research to stop school violence will help prevent future tragedies. This bill will also expand threat assessment programs so that more school districts can be trained to identify threats and properly intervene. I thank Chairman Grassley for shepherding this bill and for his ongoing efforts to reduce school violence, and urge my colleagues to quickly pass this bill.”
Stand With Parkland supports this bill. Its president, Tony Montalto (father of Gina Montalto, one of the 17 people murdered at school in the 2018 Parkland shooting), says:
“The National Threat Assessment Center has been essential to thwarting mass shooters and targeted violence since it was first created in 2008. The EAGLES Act is a critical expansion of the program that prioritizes school violence and directs key funding to prevent the next mass school shooting. We need to be more proactive and less reactive — our children’s lives are at stake. This bipartisan effort underscores the importance of school safety and ensures nationwide research and training to stop the next attack before it happens. Our nation’s lawmakers must join together to keep staff members and students safe at school."
This bill has five bipartisan cosponsors, including three Republicans and two Democrats. It’s also supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Sandy Hook Promise, Stand With Parkland, and the families of those who perished in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Of Note: This bill’s name — the “EAGLES Act” — is in honor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagles. The school was the site of the February 14, 2018 shooting in which 17 people were killed and 17 were injured.
The Secret Service established the NTAC in 1998 to develop evidence-based indicators of various types of targeted violence, including school shootings. It developed a threat assessment model used by law enforcement to identify potentially violent individuals, assess whether an individual poses an imminent threat and determine how to manage the threat. Through its research, NTAC found that most attackers exhibited indicators of pre-attack behavior. Based on its findings, NTAC developed a three-step threat assessment model:
- Identifying individuals who are exhibiting pre-attack behavior;
- Assessing whether an individual poses a threat; and
- Managing the threat.
NTAC’s findings can be used to develop best practices and training to prevent future acts of violence. Since 2002, the Secret Service has conducted 444 training operations for 93,000 school administrators, teachers, counselors, mental health professionals, school resource officers and other public safety partners.
As of July 26, 2019 there have been 22 shootings with injuries or casualties in U.S. schools.
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / wellesenterprises)