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Cruz to introduce bill adding safety improvements, mental health professionals at schools

Sen. Cruz says he is planning to introduce a new bill for school safety
Sen. Cruz says he is planning to introduce a new bill for school safety 01:57

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSDFW.COM) - U.S. Senator Ted Cruz says his proposed bill would spend billions of dollars to make schools safer in Texas and across the country.

In an interview with CBS 11 on Tuesday, Senator Cruz said, "I think this is a priority and I think we need to invest to keep our kids safe."

Sen. Ted Cruz gives CBS 11 details on a school safety bill he plans to introduce 09:37

Under the Securing Our Schools Act of 2022, Cruz seeks $15 billion to double the number of school resource officers, $10 billion to hire 15,000 mental health professionals for middle and high schools and $2.56 billion for physical security improvements on school campuses.

The legislation comes nearly four months after the mass shooting at Uvalde's Robb Elementary School left 19 students and two teachers dead and another 17 injured.

Cruz said, "Having additional police officers there on the campus able to protect your daughter, your son, able to stop someone who would commit a horrific crime of violence before they get into the school, nothing is more effective than law enforcement physically present there."

He said schools need help identifying troubled young men. 

"There are warning signs that if you had a mental health professional hopefully some of these crimes could be stopped before they're carried out," Cruz said.

In addition, Cruz said his proposal provides $540 million in FEMA security grants for non-profit organizations, including houses of worship.

This follows the hostage situation at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville in January.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron Walker and three synagogue members escaped unharmed physically after a British national held them at gunpoint for most of the day.

The FBI killed the gunman.

Senator Cruz said his measure would be fully paid for by using $30.5 billion in unspent Covid-19 education-related funding, which amounts to more than $135 billion.

U.S. Representative Randy Weber, a Republican who represents the Texas Gulf Coast, has proposed a bill using all of that money for school security.

"My focus is on legislation that would actually stop these crimes and this legislation would do more to keep children safe in Texas and across the country than any legislation that is before the Senate today."

While Cruz is seeking unanimous consent when he brings his measure to the Senate floor this week, he said it may be blocked. 

"I have been informed that a Senate Democrat intends to come to object to the bill and I look forward to that debate," Cruz said.

CBS 11 called Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's office at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday afternoon to confirm that Democrats will block that bill. But no one returned the call. 

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