Legislation designed to make the nation’s public schools more structurally safe has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
What is called the School Safety Clearinghouse Act would create a resource for public and education officials to tap when they are contemplating the upgrading of an existing school or construction of a new facility.
The language of the legislation particularly notes that an ongoing concern of school districts has been their “inability to sift through the multitude of safety options, equipment, technologies, and building designs that are available to improve the safety and design of their schools.”
To be managed by the Department of Homeland Security, the clearinghouse would offer information and recommendations from a variety of industry professionals, including architects, engineers, and building security experts, on the best way to create a secure school.
One of the sponsors of the legislation, Senator David Purdue of Georgia, said the clearinghouse will also allow “parents, teachers, and administrators to make informed decisions about the best ways to keep their schools and communities safe.”
The legislation was created with input from the American Institute of Architects.
Robert Ivy, chief executive officer of the AIA, noted in a statement: “Design served as a critical element in making our airports, stadiums, and office buildings safer following September 11.”
If passed by the full Congress and signed into law by President Trump, the legislation would not establish mandates for school districts, but would serve only as a source of information for those districts.
The legislation, Senate Bill 2530, is currently being reviewed by the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
By Garry Boulard
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