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Governor Dayton Proposes Safe and Secure Schools Act to Protect Kids, Reduce Gun Violence, and Save Lives

3/7/2018 9:00:00 AM

Safe and Secure Schools Act would make needed investments in school safety and student mental health

At least 21 threats have been made against Minnesota schools in the last three weeks

In addition to Safe and Secure Schools Act, Governor Dayton urges lawmakers to work together to pass legislation that would reduce gun violence make it harder for criminals to access guns

At least 879 Minnesotans have died as a result of criminal gun violence since the Rocori High School shooting in 2003

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today announced his proposed Safe and Secure Schools Act, which would provide $15.9 million in needed revenue to enhance safety for students, teachers, parents, and staff at schools throughout Minnesota. Governor Dayton’s proposal would dedicate this revenue for school safety improvements and to provide needed support to students who may be a danger to themselves or others. The proposal also includes an additional $5 million for school-based grants that would provide mental health services to student who need added support. According to media reports, at least 21 threats have been made against Minnesota schools since the Parkland, Florida shooting three weeks ago. In addition to his Safe and Secure Schools Act, Governor Dayton today urged the Minnesota Legislature to work together to pass legislation this session that would help reduce gun violence and make it harder for criminals to access guns in Minnesota.

“Minnesota students, parents, and teachers need all of our schools to be safe places to learn and grow,” said Governor Dayton. “Our mission is to prevent every school shooting. To succeed, we must take action now. I urge the Legislature to act this session to improve school safety and reduce gun violence in Minnesota.”

Gun violence remains a challenge in Minnesota and across the United States. At least 879 Minnesotans have died as a result of criminal gun violence since two students were killed in a school shooting at Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota in 2003. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, firearm homicides are the leading cause of violent death for Minnesotans under the age of 9, while firearm suicides are the leading cause of violent death for all Minnesotans.

Criminal Homicides Committed with Firearms, 2003 – 2016
Year  
Deaths
Year
Deaths
2016
73
2008
54
2015
88
2007
61
2014
46
2006
86
2013
65
2005
72
2012
38
2004
73
2011
61
2003
74
2010
51


Total:

879 Deaths
2009
37
Source: Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Uniform Crime Reports (2003-2016)

Nationally, approximately 12,700 Americans lose their lives to gun violence each year. In addition, for everyone one person killed with guns an additional two more individuals are injured by guns.


Safe and Secure Schools Act
The Safe and Secure Schools Act proposed by Governor Dayton would advance broadly-supported policies to improve the safety of Minnesota students. The Governor’s proposal would increase school funding by $18 per student, totaling $15.9 million in 2019, to help school districts and charter schools identify and assist students who exhibit red flags to school officials and law enforcement and make needed safety improvements to school facilities. The proposal also includes an additional $5 million for school-based grants that would provide mental health services to student who need added support. Read more about how school districts and charters could use this funding below. 

  • Intervention and Support for Expelled Students – The Parkland, Florida school shooting underscored the importance of ensuring that students who might be a danger to themselves or others do not slip through the cracks. Governor Dayton’s Safe and Secure Schools Act would clarify the responsibility of school districts to provide additional services and complete a threat assessment before expelling students. It would direct school districts to improve data sharing with each other about expelled students. It also would require school districts to ensure expelled students are progressing with their alternative educations and remain eligible for school-based mental health grants until they enroll in a new district. These reforms would help ensure students who are exhibiting red flags are identified and receive the additional attention they require.

  • New Resources for School Building Safety – The Safe and Secure Schools Act would provide Minnesota school districts and charter schools additional revenue to make building improvements, such as secured entrances, bulletproof glass, or other classroom security measures that local school districts choose to enhance school safety. Beyond facility improvements, school districts and charter schools could use the additional funds to hire more school resource officers, counselors, or other student support staff.

  • Providing Students Access to Mental Health Services – Under Governor Dayton’s leadership, Minnesota has invested more than $11 million in school-based mental health programs. Building on this progress, Governor Dayton’s Safe and Secure Schools Act would invest an additional $5 million to further strengthen Minnesota’s school-based mental health programs. These new resources would help improve access to mental health care for children and youth who are uninsured or underinsured.

To learn more about how Governor Dayton’s Safe and Secure Schools Act would improve the safety of Minnesota students, click here. To see a spreadsheet showing how individual school districts and charter schools across Minnesota would benefit, click here.

Other Legislation Supported by Governor Dayton to Reduce Gun Violence
In addition to his Safe and Secure Schools Act, Governor Dayton supports a number of legislative proposals that would help reduce gun violence and make it harder for criminals to access guns. Governor Dayton today called on the Legislature to take action to reduce gun violence this session by passing the following measures. 

  • Criminal Background Checks – Governor Dayton supports legislative proposals to require criminal background checks any time a firearm is exchanged. This requirement would protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, while making it more difficult for criminals to access guns. 
     
  • Clarify Bump Fire Stocks Ban – The 2017 Las Vegas shooting left 58 people dead and 851 injured. The killer in that tragedy used a bump fire stock to increase his rate of fire. Governor Dayton supports measures proposed by state legislators to clarify that Minnesota law already bars the sale and use of bump fire stocks.

  • Public Health Research – Governor Dayton supports legislative proposals to collect data on gun ownership for purposes of public health research. A better understanding of the factors causing gun violence could help to improve future efforts to protect lives.

  • Age Restrictions on Assault Rifles – Governor Dayton supports legislative proposals to restrict the purchase of semiautomatic military-style assault weapons, like the ones used in the Newtown and Parkland shootings, to individuals older than 21.

  • Enact Red Flag Law – At least 24 Minnesotans were killed by a current or former intimate partner in 2017. More than 50 percent of these deaths were the result of firearms. Governor Dayton supports measures to allow family members and law enforcement personnel to ask a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms, if they have documented evidence that the person poses a serious threat to themselves or others.

To learn more about legislative proposals supported by Governor Dayton to reduce gun violence and save lives, click here.

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