State Rep. Ron Gant proposes grant program for emergency alert response systems

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In an effort to make Tennessee schools safer, State Rep. Ron Gant, R-Piperton, today introduced legislation that would establish a grant program to safety alert systems in public schools.

House Bill 7039 would provide $90 million in nonrecurring funds to assist local school districts and public charter schools with the installation of rapid response emergency devices. The systems can pinpoint the exact locations of an emergency and directly notify law enforcement and first responders in situations such as a medical emergency, unauthorized intruder, or other crisis.

“We are morally obligated to provide great classrooms, excellent teachers in a safe environment while maintaining equal opportunities for every student to excel no matter where they live.” Gant said. “This is another important step to ensure we are utilizing every available tool to make Tennessee schools the safest, most secure in the nation.”

As part of a comprehensive plan to strengthen security at schools across Tennessee, the General Assembly in April approved $223 million to boost school safety. The enhanced measures include funding to place a school resource officer (SRO) at every Tennessee public school, boost physical security at public and private schools, and provides additional mental health resources.

The new law, effective July 1, also requires every public and private school to keep doors locked at all times while students are present.

Gov. Bill Lee on Aug. 8 issued an official proclamation calling for a special session of the state legislature to consider several additional proposals dealing with public safety and mental health.

The 66th Extraordinary Special Session of the Tennessee General Assembly is scheduled to convene Aug. 21 at 4 p.m.

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