Rep. Watson Colean Statement on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018
Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) released the following statement on the House’s consideration of H.R. 4909, Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act:
“Addressing school violence is a top priority for me, however, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 lacks a number of critical protections in its effort to fund programs and systems that would prevent school violence events.
“While I support reauthorization of the Department of Justice’s Secure Our Schools grant program, the bill considered in the House today had several critical flaws: it would not require protections for students falsely accused in grant-funded anonymous reporting systems; it risks creating risk assessment systems that disproportionately impact students with disabilities, students of color, and other minority groups; and may allow schools to purchase equipment like metal detectors that are unproven in preventing violent situations but do increase fear, anxiety and the perception of safety among students.
“Legislation with this magnitude of concern deserves to be considered in regular order with the opportunity for amendments that would mitigate unintended consequences, and allow proactive attempts to reverse the school to prison pipeline. I truly believe that, if given the chance, Congress could have addressed these issues in a bipartisan fashion. Unfortunately we did not have that opportunity today. I look forward to supporting other measures that will more holistically and effectively address the pressing issues of school safety.”
More than 50 civil and human rights organizations, including the Children’s Defense Fund, YWCA USA and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund joined in a letter noting these and other challenges within the bill. Click here to see their letter.