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Sen. Boxer Pushes For School Safety Legislation In San Diego

Aired 3/28/13 on KPBS News.

California Sen. Barbara Boxer promoted school safety legislation in Barrio Logan Thursday.

— California Senator Barbara Boxer visited Barrio Logan’s Perkins Elementary School on Thursday. After meeting a first grade class, Boxer spoke about legislation she is sponsoring to restart the lapsed federal Secure Our Schools grant program. The bill would provide $40 million for school district grants to cover the costs of things like improving lighting, doors, locks and fences, installing security cameras and collaborating with local law enforcement.

Sen. Barbara Boxer talks with first graders at Perkins Elementary School in Barrio Logan, Mar. 28, 2013. She was joined by (from left to right) San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, San Diego Unified Board of Education Vice President Kevin Beiser and San Diego Unified Board of Education President John Lee Evans.

She said 262 children and adults have been killed or wounded in shootings at K-12 schools across the country since 1999.

“It is time for the slaughter of innocents to stop," she said. "For those of you who were in that room with me with those children -- they look up to us, they want us to protect them. They understand it is our job. And we are failing them.”

San Diego Unified has used a $1.2 million security grant to install cameras at Perkins and other district schools. Boxer commended the city and the district for using a collaborative approach that includes working with mental health professionals to improve school security. The bill would also create a joint task force between the Departments of Justice and Education to develop K-12 schools safety guidelines as well as a national Center for Campus Public Safety focused on safety at colleges and universities.

Boxer's measure will be considered as part of a broader anti-gun violence legislation package the Senate will consider next month. While Boxer's bill enjoys bipartisan support, the package will contain bills dealing with politically contentious issues like universal background checks for gun purchases and banning high-capacity magazines.

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