Justice Department cancels school safety studies after spending bill enacted

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A Department of Justice (DOJ) agency has canceled a pair of efforts to improve school safety after their funding was cut under the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that President Trump signed Friday.

A message posted on the website for the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) states that funding for the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI) and Research and Evaluation of Technologies to Improve School Safety solicitations was reapportioned under the recently-passed Stop School Violence Act of 2018.

“With the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, the funding planned for these solicitations is no longer available for research and evaluation. Instead, it will be used for other purposes under the Stop School Violence Act of 2018,” reads the notice.


The Stop School Violence Act, lawmakers’ response to last month’s shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that killed 17 people, was signed into law on Friday. The measure provides funding to train students, teachers and law enforcement on how to spot and report signs of gun violence. 
The plan also provides millions in funding for safety measures meant to “harden” America’s schools against potential attackers. The bill was cosponsored by more than 75 bipartisan lawmakers.
Congress approved funding for the CSSI after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to fill gaps created by a ban on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research into gun violence. The omnibus signed Friday paved the way for that research to be conducted.

The CSSI was launched in 2014 in response to a $75 million congressional appropriation. DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs, which includes NIJ, said that school safety research had received $275 million over three fiscal years, but was “not intended to be a permanent funding stream,” The Crime Report website reported last month.

“The results of currently funded projects will continue to provide evidence about what works (and what does not) in keeping our schools safe and to inform future resource decisions. Almost all CSSI-funded projects are still active and final reports have not yet been published,” the office said in February.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier this month that Trump is waiting to see a congressional plan to combat gun violence before endorsing specific provisions, such as universal background checks.

“He wants to see what that legislation, the final piece of it looks like,” she said at a press briefing. “Universal means something different to a lot of people. He certainly wants to focus and improve on the background check system.”

Updated: 12:07 p.m.


Tags Center for Disease Control Donald Trump Gun control gun violence Justice Department Omnibus spending bill school safety
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