NBC Montana: Daines announces bill aimed at school safety, mental health

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines announced a new proposal, the School Safety and Mental Health Services Improvement Act, which could bring federal funding to more than 800 Montana schools.

Daines says state and local governments provide 90 percent of the funding to over 100,000 public schools in the United States. His bill aims to allow the federal government to help schools become safer.

“This bill improves school security by using federal funds for measures such as school counselors, alarm systems and training to respond to crisis. This allows our local schools to make decisions that best protect our children and stop violence before it happens,” said Daines.

The bill outlines improving school safety by using federal funds to hire school counselors, implement violence prevention programs and activities. It also addresses mental health and how schools can identify and treat mental illness.

Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Thane says he’s glad the federal government is on board with helping schools.

“I think states and school districts need federal support. I think we need federal action, and it’s unfortunate that it took an event like Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to get the attention of Congress, but I’m encouraged that it will be given it’s due, and I hope we’ll see the fruits of that action very soon,” Thane said.

MCPS has already implemented some of the systems in Daines’ bill.