Florida’s two U.S. senators teamed up with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to introduce legislation giving the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) more of a role in stopping school shootings.
Grassley, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., unveiled the “Eagles Act,” named after the mascot of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Wednesday.
The proposal reauthorizes the NTAC and gives it new authority to study school shootings and how to prevent them. The bill also creates a national program on targeted school violence prevention and funding for training to prevent school shootings. If the bill becomes law, the Secret Service would be in charge of this expansion and would have to report on its progress to Congress.
On Wednesday, the four senators behind it explained why they had introduced the proposal.
“The U.S. Secret Service has unique and unparalleled experience in identifying threats to safety and preventing tragedies,” said Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This bill builds on the Secret Service’s case study research on targeted school violence and enables the National Threat Assessment Center to train more of our nation’s schools in how to conduct threat assessments and early interventions. Equipping our communities and schools with training and best practices to recognize and prevent school violence is an important step toward preventing future tragedies, and an important way to honor victims of school violence.”
“To prevent future tragedies like Parkland, a multi-pronged approach is needed to ensure that threats do not fall through the cracks,” Rubio said. “By providing funding to the National Threat Assessment Center, top-notch research to stop school violence will help prevent future tragedies. This bill will also expand threat assessment programs so that more school districts can be trained to identify threats and properly intervene. I thank Chairman Grassley for shepherding this bill and for his ongoing efforts to reduce school violence, and urge my colleagues to quickly pass this bill.”
"We need to do everything we can to better protect our kids while they're in school. This bill will help provide school officials with the resources and training they need to detect potential threats before they materialize,” Nelson said.
“Last month Congress passed the STOP School Violence Act to empower entire school ecosystems to play a stronger and more active role in violence prevention. This proposal will help U.S. Secret Service leverage their own unique expertise in that same effort, and will save lives,” Hatch said.
The bill has the support of several families impacted by the school shooting in Parkland, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and other groups.