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U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows will promote federal legislation to allocate $30 million for police officers in schools during a news conference in Hendersonville Wednesday.
Meadows, a Republican who represents the 11th Congressional District, joined several other congressmen in sponsoring a bill, called the Protect America's Schools Act of 2013, which revives the Cops in Schools grant program.
Meadows will hold a news conference on the bill at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Hendersonville Elementary School.
The Cops in Schools program, which has not been funded since 2005, was introduced by the Clinton administration over 14 years ago to assist local law enforcement agencies in the hiring of new officers. The $30 million to pay for the grant program would be offset by taking unspent funds from the operations budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Meadows said.
Meadows' support of the bill in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting comes as the Hendersonville City Council is discussing adding security at three schools in the city limits. Only Hendersonville High School has a fulltime school resource officer. Councilman Jerry Smith has proposed adding an officer to cover Hendersonville Middle School and Hendersonville Elementary School across the street and directing the HHS officer to also serve Bruce Drysdale Elementary School.
"The recent school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut sent shockwaves across the country," Meadows said in a news release. "As a father, I grieved with the families who lost a loved one that day. And as a legislator, I vowed that I would take action to prevent future tragedies. According to a recent Gallup poll, 53 percent of Americans believe that increasing police presence at schools would be very effective in preventing future tragedies. After speaking to local law enforcement, superintendents and principals in my district, I believe this is the best path forward.
"The Protect America's Schools Act is a bipartisan, solutions-oriented approach to addressing school shootings that should transcend party lines. It is not the only answer, but it is a critical step forward to protect our nation's children. Keeping our children safe is not only an area that both political parties can find common ground, but as lawmakers, it is our moral obligation."
Representatives Bill Cassidy (LA-06), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Tom Rooney (FL-17), Rich Nugent (FL-11) and David Joyce (OH-14) are original cosponsors.