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Debate Over School Safety Measures Reflects Differing Politics

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, Tx., governors around the U.S. vowed to take steps to ensure that their students would be kept safe. Months later, as students return to classrooms, money has begun to flow for school security upgrades, training and other new efforts to make classrooms safer. The responses have often reflected political divisions: Many Republicans have emphasized school security spending, while Democrats have called for tighter gun control, the Associated Press reports. In a special legislative session in Arkansas last month, lawmakers set aside $50 million for a school safety fund proposed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Hutchinson he wants to help implement recommendations from a school safety commission he reinstated after the May shooting in Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed.

Texas was among several other states that set aside money for school security. Gov. Greg Abbott and other top Republican leaders announced $105.5 million for school safety initiatives. Nearly half of that was slated for bullet-resistant shields for school police and $17.1 million was for districts to purchase panic-alert technology. Other Republican governors who made money available for security upgrades include Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who announced $100 million for school security three days after the Uvalde shooting, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whose state is giving $2.6 million to increase training capacity and classes for school resource officers. Hutchinson had said there should be a conversation about raising the age to purchase an AR-15-style rifle — the type of weapon used in Uvalde — but didn’t pursue the a measure during the session. Abbott also has pushed back on calls for more gun control by families of the Uvalde shooting victims.


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