RANDY WEBER — We need to keep our children safe

Published 12:04 am Friday, August 26, 2022

As a father of three and a grandfather of eight, I know how exciting the start of the school year is; however, I won’t date myself by talking about when I was in school!

My beautiful bride, Brenda Weber, taught fourth grade for over 20 years, and I know the preparation it takes for a new school year.

The beginning of the school year often brings many emotions, and this year is no different. As students return to the classroom, safety is top of mind for parents and school districts.

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Republicans and Democrats alike agree that we need to keep our children safe.

Nothing is more important to me in Congress than the safety of our children in their classrooms. That is why I have introduced three school safety bills this Congress and plan to introduce an additional bill in the coming months.

The three pieces of legislation are H.R. 7907, the Protect Our Children’s School Act; H.R. 7908, the PASS Act; and H.R. 7909, a bill that allows for more school resource officers.

H.R. 7907, the Protect Our Children’s School Act, would allow schools to redirect unobligated federal funds originally allocated to the Secretary of Education for coronavirus measures to secure their campuses.

Each school could use this money at their discretion, whether to hire school resource officers, install more secure locks on doors, deploy security cameras or anything else that would help the school be safer.

H.R. 7908, the Protect Against School Shootings (PASS) Act, would allow certain active and retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed firearm in a school zone. This would only apply to individuals who are legally allowed to conceal carry currently and would help amplify a school’s response to a threat. As y’all know, it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.

The third of my recently introduced bills, H.R. 7909, would provide an exclusion from gross income for compensation of school resource officers. Under this legislation, these school resource officers would be retired law enforcement officers.

This is a win-win situation, as it would provide job opportunities to well-trained retired police officers and make the school a safer place for students and staff.

Currently, I am working on a bill that would create a grant program to allow schools to have updated critical-incident mapping data made and shared with local first responders, so in the event of an emergency, first responders have the most up-to-date maps of the campus and can respond quickly to any situation.

I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that these meaningful pieces of legislation are passed and enacted into law. I am proud that TX-14 has some of the best schools in all of Texas, and for that matter, the United States, and that is a message that I’m not shy about sharing with my fellow lawmakers.

To all the students, teachers, staff, and parents, welcome back to school and have a great school year!

U.S. Representative Randy Weber is a Republican congressman serving Texas’ 14th District, which includes much of Port Arthur and all of Mid County. He can be reached at RepRandyWeber@mail.house.gov.