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AG Reyes Urges Congress to Support Bipartisan Bill to Prevent School Violence

The EAGLES Act aims to reduce school shootings through local, state, and federal cooperation

SALT LAKE CITY (4/26/2021) – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes is urging Congress to pass the EAGLES Act, a national program to prevent targeted school violence. The legislation is named after the mascot of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed on February 14th, 2018. The Act would expand the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) with a greater focus on school violence prevention. AG Reyes is among a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general sending a letter to Congressional leaders.

The Act’s safe school initiative contains research and training components, allows the dissemination of evidence-based practices, and authorizes the NTAC to work with state and local officials to develop research and training. Click here to read the bill.

“The frequency of school shootings nationwide is heartbreaking,” said Attorney General Reyes. “In this regard, Utah has been fortunate but is certainly not immune. Tools like the SafeUT App in Utah have helped us successfully detect and thwart many potential shootings or other acts of school violence. Statewide training with officers in virtual reality mass shooting simulations has also strengthened our readiness. However, we can never get complacent and need a multi-faceted approach to preparation, prevention and response. “

AG Reyes continued:  “I see National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) training as a positive step toward reducing gun violence at schools. Federal, state and local officials must work together more efficiently to stop school shootings. I am hopeful this additional training can lead to strategic, community-based solutions that will ensure our children are better protected in the years to come.”

“On a very personal basis, I’m pleased the name of this bill honors the victims and families of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, including my dear friend Ryan Petty and his amazing daughter Alaina, whom he lost in the tragic shooting there. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all victims of such violence and their loved ones now and in the future,” AG Reyes added.

In the letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the attorneys general write, “It is unfortunate we have to turn to the threat assessment expertise of the Secret Service in order to keep educators and students safe at school, but gun violence in schools has become all too commonplace.”

NTAC was created in 1998 to provide information on threat assessment to the Secret Service and those who work in criminal justice and public safety. NTAC started studying targeted violence in schools after the Columbine High School Shooting in 1999 which led to the establishment of school threat assessment programs.

The letter is sponsored by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and is joined by the Attorneys General of: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, N. Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

To read the letter, click here.

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