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house Bill H.R. 5787

Do School Districts Need Grants to Buy Devices to Alert First Responders of Emergencies?

Argument in favor

First responders and law enforcement need to be able to get to a school as quickly as possible when an emergency breaks out. SOS buttons in classrooms would give students and teachers another way to call for help if something goes wrong.

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08/31/2016
Until the congress and senate stop the NRA, we must do everything and anything to help protect students and teachers!
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Daniel's Opinion
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08/30/2016
All these people talking about how everyone has a cell phone and how that solves this problem, but that is actually what creates this problem. A 911 call from a cell phone is 1. Hard to immediately locate (a land line is always tied to a fixed address) 2. The high traffic of 911 calls to understaffed underfunded dispatch centers it could be precious minutes (sometimes 30-45 before the caller is connected to a real person) before the first of several hundreds of the same phone call come in. I'm sure there are cheaper ways and maybe this bill needs to be revised, but expecting our incredibly underfunded and under appreciated education system to scrounge together the money needed to streamline the safety of our future frankly is preposterous.
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Steven's Opinion
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08/30/2016
While this is not a game changer, it is a move that provides psychological security and, adds further efficiency to keeping our children safe. Yet, most importantly, it encourages the habit of giving funds to our school districts, a habit many states seem to lack. If it has to start here, so be it.
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Argument opposed

There’s no need for federal grants to be used to fund the purchase and installation of these SOS buttons in classrooms. If local school districts want them that badly, they should use their own funds to buy and set them up.

B.R.'s Opinion
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08/30/2016
While I am in support of protecting our children's safety, I do not believe a SOS button will have any effect. With all due respect to Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL), your justification for this bill is that it will help better secure our schools from violence & potential acts of terrorism. I fail to see how a SOS button accomplishes this. If nothing else, it perhaps would give some a sense of comfort from a psychological perspective at best. If a school feels strongly about it, then they should fund it within their budget.
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Loraki's Opinion
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08/30/2016
HECK NO! Let the school districts cut their "administrative costs" and/or work out a plan to get those devices through their state or local government! If I were in charge of a school district, the LAST thing I'd want would be any kind of "grant" from the federal government! That's like the horse that agreed to let a wolf ride on his back to cross a river. You can imagine how foolish the horse was to trust the wolf! IMHO, I don't think ANY part of the Obama Administration is deserving of our trust, least of all (perhaps) the Department of (In)justice!
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···
08/30/2016
I'm trying to think of a scenario where if a lone gunman, of even if there were multiple gunmen, kicked down the front doors of any school, rushed in, and started firing whatever firearms they might be carrying, how could this attack be executed in a manner which would incapacitate everyone in that building to the point where not even a single person could use either their own personal cellphone or a landline and call local law enforcement. I can't do it. I can't get there. Somebody, somewhere, on the premises will hear the shots being fired and be able to immediately call for help. So is there a need for grant money to be disbursed for local schools to have an "SOS" button in every classroom in case of a worse case scenario, even if that scenario was a health emergency or a national disaster in stead of a shooting? No there isn't.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJuly 14th, 2016

What is House Bill H.R. 5787?

This bill would allow the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) to offer grants to local school districts for buying and installing devices that would allow for the immediate notification of first responders or law enforcement if there’s a health emergency, shooting, or natural disaster at a school. The devices would be placed in classrooms and known as “SOS buttons.”

The maximum grant a school district could receive is $200,000 in a fiscal year, and school districts would be required to cover at least 25 percent of the cost of buying and installing the devices out of their own funding.

Impact

Students and teachers; local school districts; law enforcement and emergency responders; and the DOJ.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5787

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL) introduced this bill to give students and teachers another avenue to alert first responders if an emergency occurs on a school campus:

“In recent years, we’ve seen far too many heartbreaking and shocking episodes of violence. We must work together to make our country and Florida safer. This legislation will help better secure our schools from violence and potential acts of terrorism.”

This legislation has the support of one cosponsor in the House, Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL).


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Screengrab from YouTube)

AKA

Securing Our Schools Act of 2016

Official Title

To provide for grants from the Attorney General to local education agencies to purchase and install devices that would allow for the immediate notification of appropriate officials in case of emergency, and for other purposes.

    Until the congress and senate stop the NRA, we must do everything and anything to help protect students and teachers!
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    While I am in support of protecting our children's safety, I do not believe a SOS button will have any effect. With all due respect to Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL), your justification for this bill is that it will help better secure our schools from violence & potential acts of terrorism. I fail to see how a SOS button accomplishes this. If nothing else, it perhaps would give some a sense of comfort from a psychological perspective at best. If a school feels strongly about it, then they should fund it within their budget.
    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
    HECK NO! Let the school districts cut their "administrative costs" and/or work out a plan to get those devices through their state or local government! If I were in charge of a school district, the LAST thing I'd want would be any kind of "grant" from the federal government! That's like the horse that agreed to let a wolf ride on his back to cross a river. You can imagine how foolish the horse was to trust the wolf! IMHO, I don't think ANY part of the Obama Administration is deserving of our trust, least of all (perhaps) the Department of (In)justice!
    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm trying to think of a scenario where if a lone gunman, of even if there were multiple gunmen, kicked down the front doors of any school, rushed in, and started firing whatever firearms they might be carrying, how could this attack be executed in a manner which would incapacitate everyone in that building to the point where not even a single person could use either their own personal cellphone or a landline and call local law enforcement. I can't do it. I can't get there. Somebody, somewhere, on the premises will hear the shots being fired and be able to immediately call for help. So is there a need for grant money to be disbursed for local schools to have an "SOS" button in every classroom in case of a worse case scenario, even if that scenario was a health emergency or a national disaster in stead of a shooting? No there isn't.
    Like (18)
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    Share
    Just another excuse to spend our money! Every child, teacher and janitor has a cell phone and almost all buildings in the modern world have a fire alarm, it's that little red square thing on the wall that says "in case of emergency, pull". Only an idiot politician would think that by adding another button it will make emergency services come faster.
    Like (9)
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    All these people talking about how everyone has a cell phone and how that solves this problem, but that is actually what creates this problem. A 911 call from a cell phone is 1. Hard to immediately locate (a land line is always tied to a fixed address) 2. The high traffic of 911 calls to understaffed underfunded dispatch centers it could be precious minutes (sometimes 30-45 before the caller is connected to a real person) before the first of several hundreds of the same phone call come in. I'm sure there are cheaper ways and maybe this bill needs to be revised, but expecting our incredibly underfunded and under appreciated education system to scrounge together the money needed to streamline the safety of our future frankly is preposterous.
    Like (8)
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    You mean phones? What a silly question.
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    NO NO NO!!!! No more Federal authority! Leave our schools to the local and States.
    Like (7)
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    While this is not a game changer, it is a move that provides psychological security and, adds further efficiency to keeping our children safe. Yet, most importantly, it encourages the habit of giving funds to our school districts, a habit many states seem to lack. If it has to start here, so be it.
    Like (5)
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    These devices are something that could easily be added to the school districts' existing budget, no need to get the DOJ and federal gov involved.
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    This is a waste of money. Response time for police being dispatched to schools is far faster than any other emergency.
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    Permitting teachers to have cellular phones would be a far better (and less costly) idea. 911 system is designed for emergencies and can work better than a wall mounted alarm button to help first responders know the nature of the emergency.
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    We need to worry about the education of our children before this procedure that will not necessarily have a measurable impact
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    So we can create more federal financial ties into our school systems effectively holding us all hostage if we don't educate our children using the "hive mind" method? I'm all for keeping our children safe, but why isn't "911" an effective tool? This is also another symptomatic solution instead of a wholistic one.
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    We already have phones and 9-1-1... why do we need to spend more taxpayer money on a problem that doesn't exist?
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    One more government expenditure. DC needs to quit inventing projects to spend money on.
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    Wouldn't dialing 911 on any phone do the same thing?? Why is another devise needed?
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    I say no, the money would be put to better use allowing a select number of teachers to carry firearms and paying for the training they would need.
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    They already fave them! It's called dialing 911! Ok?
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    Anything that keeps children safe and makes it easier for people to contact first responders are what we should spend our tax dollars on instead of funding wars and locking people up for non-violent crimes so it's way past time to change that and spend our tax money on education and making sure everyone has food instead!
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