Tillis introduces bipartisan bill to house safe-school design information

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) on Sept. 23 introduced the bipartisan School Safety Clearinghouse Act to set up a one-stop federal shop that would house details on improving school security and design.

“We need a comprehensive approach to make sure students are learning in a safe environment, and the bipartisan School Safety Clearinghouse Act makes progress toward that goal,” Sen. Tillis said on Tuesday.

Sen. Tillis cosponsored S. 2530 with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and cosponsors U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Doug Jones (D-AL) to establish a federally funded information clearinghouse that would be managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and include recommendations from engineers, architects, first responders, building security experts, and mental health advocates on improving school safety and design.

“One thing we can all agree on is we must do everything we can to make sure our children are safe at school,” said Sen. Tillis. “By allowing communities to share information and best practices in one place, we can ensure we are building safer schools and protecting our students.”

If enacted, S. 2530 would direct the DHS Secretary, “in consultation with the Secretary of Education, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, [to] develop tiers for determining evidence-based practices that demonstrate a significant effect on improving the health, safety, and welfare of persons in school settings,” according to the bill’s text.

The clearinghouse would not advocate for specific technologies or tools, nor impose mandates on school districts, according to Sen. Tillis’ office.

Among several duties, the clearinghouse would “serve as a central resource to identify, catalog, and describe best practices, case studies, and relevant federal grants related to safe school design and evidence-based practices, for use by local education agencies, local law enforcement agencies, schools, architects, engineers, and others, and any other school safety topics related to school design as determined appropriate by the [DHS] Secretary,” the bill says.