Senators seek to fund more research on school shootings

Eagles Act would provide more resources to Secret Service program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of U.S. senators introduced legislation Wednesday that would provide more funding to research indicators of school shootings and train law enforcement across the country how to prevent tragedies like the shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and teachers were killed.

Florida Sens. Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R), along with Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley named the bill the Eagles Act of 2018 in honor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a deadly attack by a former student occurred on Feb. 14.

The senators want to see more funding for the U.S. Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center, or NTAC, which was established in 1998 one year before the Columbine High School shooting. The center has developed a threat assessment model used by law enforcement to identify potential threats.

In March, the Secret Service released the NTAC report on mass attacks in public spaces, which included history of the people who carried out the violence and what the attacks were motivated by. All of the attackers profiled by the NTAC were male. Of the 28 incidents in the study, four were school shootings.

If the legislation is approved, it would expand NTAC's mission to develop more school-specific threat assessment models and training law enforcement and school staff how to detect potential threats, according to a news release.

The bill would fund additional research on school shootings, facilitate information sharing between groups and establish a national program on school violence prevention.

“We need to do everything we can to better protect our kids while they're in school,” Nelson said. “This bill will help provide school officials with the resources and training they need to detect potential threats before they materialize.”

Read more about the Eagles Act of 2018 here.

Organizations that support the bill include the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Sandy Hook Promise and families of those who were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The Secret Service would be required to report on the implementation of the expanded responsibilities within two years.