Better School Design Can Help Keep Kids Safer
By U.S. Senator David Perdue
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Growing up, both of my parents were public schoolteachers. It gave them great joy to work every day to help shape the future for our children. As a parent and grandfather, I feel the same joy watching my grandkids learn something new.
Last month, 1.7 million students across Georgia headed back to school. For them, unfortunately, the reality of going to school feels dramatically different than it did when I was younger.
Over the last 20 years, many students across the country have directly experienced gun violence at their schools. Bulletproof backpacks and lockdown drills are now part of our children’s daily routine. It is every parent’s worst nightmare. For families in Newtown and Parkland, it is a nightmare that will never end.
In many of these tragic cases, bad actors were able to bypass security due to loopholes in the building’s design.
What can we do to keep our kids safe? We can start by building schools that are designed to protect our children. As an engineer by trade, I have learned that building design is more than brick, metal, and wood – it is the first line of defense.
School design is not the only solution to making schools safer; we still have to find better ways to enforce existing law and keep guns out of the wrong hands. However, redesigning schools is an essential first step to keeping our kids safe.
I am proud to join senators Doug Jones, Thom Tillis, and Shelley Moore Capito in sponsoring the bipartisan School Safety Clearinghouse Act in the U.S. Senate. This bill will direct the Department of Homeland Security to build and maintain a national clearinghouse containing all the best practices and developments in school design.
The School Safety Clearinghouse Act will close the gaps preventing schools from finding the school design advancements they need to protect their students and faculty.
It does so while also upholding a key doctrine of our Founding Mothers and Fathers: that decisions are best made by families, communities, and states – not the Federal Government.