COORDINATING AND LEVERAGING ACTIVITIES FOR SCHOOL SECURITY ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 56
(House of Representatives - April 01, 2019)

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[Pages H2929-H2930]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




     COORDINATING AND LEVERAGING ACTIVITIES FOR SCHOOL SECURITY ACT

  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules 
and pass the bill (H.R. 1593) to amend the Homeland Security Act of 
2002 to establish a school security coordinating council, and for other 
purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 1593

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Coordinating and Leveraging 
     Activities for School Security Act'' or the ``CLASS Act of 
     2019''.

     SEC. 2. SCHOOL SECURITY COORDINATING COUNCIL.

       (a) In General.--Title VII of the Homeland Security Act of 
     2002 (6 U.S.C. 341 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end 
     the following new section:

     ``SEC. 711. SCHOOL SECURITY COORDINATING COUNCIL.

       ``(a) Establishment.--There is established in the 
     Department a coordinating council to ensure that, to the 
     maximum extent practicable, activities, plans, and policies 
     to enhance the security of an early childhood education 
     program, elementary school, high school, or secondary schools 
     against an act of terrorism are coordinated.
       ``(b) Composition.--The members of the council established 
     pursuant to subsection (a) shall include the following:
       ``(1) The Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans.
       ``(2) The Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure 
     Security.
       ``(3) The Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management 
     Agency.
       ``(4) The Director of the Secret Service.
       ``(5) The Executive Director of the Office of Academic 
     Engagement.
       ``(6) The Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.
       ``(7) Any other official of the Department the Secretary 
     determines appropriate.
       ``(c) Leadership.--The Secretary shall designate a member 
     of the council to serve as chair of the council.
       ``(d) Reports.--Not later than January 30, 2021, and 
     annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the 
     Committee on Homeland Security of the House of 
     Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and 
     Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report regarding the 
     council's activities during the preceding year, including 
     information on any metrics regarding the efficacy of such 
     activities and any engagement with stakeholders outside of 
     the Federal Government.
       ``(e) Definitions.--In this section, the terms `early 
     childhood education program', `elementary school', `high 
     school', and `secondary school' have the meanings given such 
     terms in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 
     1(b) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 is amended by 
     inserting after the item relating to section 710 the 
     following new item:

``Sec. 711. School security coordinating council.''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Mississippi (Mr. Thompson) and the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. 
Guest) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Thompson).


                             General Leave

  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent 
that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their 
remarks and to include extraneous material on this measure.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Mississippi?
  There was no objection.

                              {time}  1615

  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1593, the Coordinating and 
Leveraging Activities for School Security Act.
  Mr. Speaker, school violence continues to devastate communities and 
take the lives of so many young people. In 2018, we saw a record number 
of school shootings across the country. In response, Congressman   
Donald Payne, Jr., introduced H.R. 1593, the Coordinating and 
Leveraging Activities for School Security Act, known as the CLASS Act.
  H.R. 1593 seeks to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security 
organizes itself to help bolster school security. Specifically, the 
CLASS Act establishes a standing body within DHS to coordinate the 
Department's school security initiatives, activities, plans, and 
policies. Additionally, to help ensure that DHS gives school security 
adequate attention, H.R. 1593 requires the Department to report to 
Congress on the work of the council.
  Mr. Speaker, this is an important bill. I urge my colleagues to 
support H.R. 1593, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUEST. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Today I rise in support of H.R. 1593, the CLASS Act.
  While the Department of Homeland Security already coordinates its 
policies relating to school security and safety across the Department, 
codifying this council into law will ensure important channels for 
information sharing and coordination are maintained during changes in 
administration.
  Currently, DHS utilizes a number of tools to assist in the protection 
of our Nation's children. For example, the United States Secret Service 
National

[[Page H2930]]

Threat Assessment Center has created an operational guide to provide 
actionable steps that schools can take to develop specific violence 
prevention plans for their students.
  Additionally, DHS' Office of Academic Engagement, or OAE, supports 
the Department's mission by building, improving, and leveraging 
relationships with the academic community. OAE's work focuses on 
outreach, engagement, and resiliency by supporting institutions of 
higher learning and the K-12 community in preparing for, responding to, 
and recovering from threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.
  OAE offers a Campus Resilience Program Resource Library, which 
provides the academic community with access to guidelines, strategies, 
and resources to address the risks and vulnerabilities on their campus. 
The library is organized into categories according to a specific threat 
or hazard as outlined in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's 
National Preparedness Goal.
  While numerous DHS components and agencies provide resources and 
recommendations with regard to school security, it is imperative that 
the work be done in unison and there is coordination across all 
relevant agencies within DHS.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to join me in supporting this bill, 
and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may 
consume to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Payne), who is the author 
of this legislation.
  Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, school shootings are dreadful atrocities that are 
plaguing our Nation. Nearly 20 years have passed since the horrendous 
shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, where 13 
people lost their lives, yet schools and universities continue to be 
soft targets for deadly attacks.
  Last year, between the months of January and May 2018, there was the 
Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting that claimed the lives of 17 
individuals, but there were also shootings nearly every week at our 
Nation's schools.
  As history has shown us, there is no profile for a school likely to 
be targeted. This tragedy can happen at any school.
  In 2012, after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School 
in Newtown, Connecticut, the Department of Homeland Security conducted 
an internal review of actions that its components were taking to help 
improve school security. Today, I understand that multiple DHS 
components currently have programs underway to address school security, 
but the degree to which there is coordination is unclear.
  The Coordinating and Leveraging Activities for School Security, or 
CLASS, Act will establish a standing council within the Department of 
Homeland Security to coordinate school security activities, plans, and 
policies. The coordinating council would include all the key players in 
school security at the Department. They include the DHS Under Secretary 
for Strategy, Policy, and Plans; the Director of Cybersecurity and 
Infrastructure Protection; the FEMA Administrator; the Secret Service 
Director; and the heads of DHS' Offices of Academic Engagement and 
Public Affairs.
  This legislation was not developed in a vacuum. Inspiration for this 
legislation came directly from experiences of those impacted by school 
violence and from the input of New Jerseyans.
  Last July, my subcommittee held a school security field hearing in 
Newark. At the hearing, the subcommittee heard from the New Jersey 
State Police, the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey 
Association of School Resource Officers, and the New Jersey Office of 
Homeland Security about the security risks the schools face and how 
Congress can provide support.
  At the hearing and subsequently through our outreach and oversight, 
we came to understand there needs to be better coordination of school 
security activities within DHS to bolster coordination and minimize 
fragmentation.
  As a leader in developing school security best practices and 
policies, it is important for DHS to have a formal school security body 
so that it can provide an example to those on the State and local 
levels on how to coordinate the protection of schools.

  Mr. Speaker, I urge my House colleagues to support this legislation.
  Mr. GUEST. Mr. Speaker, in closing, I urge adoption of this bill, and 
I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, school shootings have 
claimed the lives of too many young people. Passage of the CLASS Act 
would ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is positioned to 
be impactful in its efforts to address the escalating risk to school 
security.
  I commend the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Payne) for his 
leadership on this issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask for my colleagues' support, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Thompson) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 1593, as amended.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas 
and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

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