Rep. Amore bills addressing school resource officers and security upgrades included in state budget
State House – Rep. Gregg Amore’s (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) legislation aimed at preventing violence in Rhode Island’s schools was included in the FY 2019 budget (2018-H 7200Aaa) passed by the House of Representatives.
“Simply put, too many of our children are dying in our schools. And while the debate over access to guns continues to wage on a national level, these budget items will protect our children while we fight for a solution to our national gun violence epidemic,” said Representative Amore.
The budget item in Article 9 establishes a voluntary three-year pilot program to fund school resource officers at half the costs associated with employing new officers at public middle and high schools. Municipalities would share the cost with the state.
“This item is necessary because some of our schools already have a resource officer, but, others do not. Having a trained police officer in our schools is the first line of defense in stopping a potentially deadly and tragic situation from unfolding in Rhode Island’s schools,” added Representative Amore. “But also, school resource officers are more than just lines of defense against unthinkable tragedies. They are trusted confidants, counselors, and serve as valuable resources to the student body. During my decades of teaching experience, I have seen them in some cases be the most popular and trusted authority figure in a school’s hallways and I am pleased that their positive presence will be available to all of our schools,” said Representative Amore.
The second budget item creates a permanent additional reimbursement to municipalities for school safety projects that follows national school security best practices.
“The amount of upgrades and new school construction that is needed in our state is not a secret. But, along with making our schools into acceptable teaching facilities for our students, we cannot ignore security updates that will protect our kids from acts of violence as well. Our schools need to be safe, dry, healthy, and most importantly, secure, and this budget item will accomplish that,” concluded Representative Amore.
Representative Amore is also pleased with inclusion of the $250 million school construction bond in the state budget. He has been a longtime advocate for the school construction bond since he was first elected in 2012 and he was recently the point person for the issue within the House Fair Shot Agenda.