The Obama administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have joined in a chorus to call for action in the wake of the atrocities committed last week in Newtown, Conn. But, over the past few years, the administration and Congress actually slashed millions of dollars in federal funding for school safety. In 2011 and 2012, for example, Justice Department programs that provided $200 million to schools for training, security equipment, and police resources were not renewed.
The Obama administration also eliminated funding for an Education Department program intended to help schools prepare for mass tragedies, according to Department officials. The program, Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS), provided $20 to $30 million in grants annually, and was cut despite a 2007 warning from the the Government Accountability Office: “Many school district officials said that they experience challenges in planning for emergencies due to a lack of equipment, training for staff, and expertise and some school districts face difficulties in communicating and coordinating with first responders and parents.”
In 2009, the National School Safety and Security Services firm released a statement following a cut of $184 million to federal funding for protecting schools. “It is unbelievable that at the 10th anniversary of the Columbine attack, President Obama proposes cutting school safety funding rather than restoring massive school safety funding cuts by the past Administration and Congresses,” said Kenneth Trump, president of the firm.