Texas Congressman wants silent alarms in schools to improve safety

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WASHINGTON (GrayDC) School shootings are becoming all too common across the nation.

Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) discussed the bill in his Rayburn office on Capitol Hill. (Source: Gray DC)

With the school year just around the corner, Texas Republican Rep. Roger Williams is joining forces with a Democrat to help students feel safer in the classroom.

Texas Congressman Roger Williams remembers a time when students only had to focus on learning.

“When I was in school, my era, we went to school, we rode our bikes to school for heaven’s sake. And we came home and doors were open and everybody came and went,” said Rep. Roger Williams.

He wants to bring that peace of mind back. So Williams introduced a bill to provide 2 billion dollars over the next decade to public schools. The grant money would help schools identify security weaknesses and help fund technology like video monitoring devices. The bill is bipartisan, with Florida Democrat Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) originally cosponsored the bill.

“We want to be able to take our kids to school, our grandkids to school and have them come home at night,” said the Congressman.

One provision of the bill would require all public schools to install at least one silent panic alarm. Silent alarms are not a new invention—they’ve been used for years in places like banks and convenient stores. When activated, they alert the closest law enforcement.

“The typical school shooter event, it’s over exceedingly quickly,” said Craig Dever, VP of Sales and Marketing at Inovonics.

“Time is of the essence,” he explained.

Craig Dever is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Inovonics, a company that makes these alarms. He said the alarms are becoming more popular in schools and make a lot of sense.

The Manatee County School Superintendent Cynthia Saunders agrees the silent alarms would help. The legislation would also provide funding to improve safety outside the classroom too. Saunders says that is critical.

“lt’s going to take a lot of resources and funding to make sure all of that is inclusive,” said Cynthia Saunders, Manatee County School District Superintendent.

The bill is sitting in the House Judiciary Committee until lawmakers return from summer recess in September.

If passed, the federal grants will cover no more than 50 percent of the cost of the security improvements.

Copyright 2019 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

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