The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act: Reauthorization and Appropriations
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and
Communities Act: Reauthorization
February 8, 2007
Edith Fairman Cooper
Analyst in Social Legislation
Domestic Social Policy Division
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act:
Reauthorization and Appropriations
The No Child Left Behind Act (P.L. 107-110) amended and reauthorized
through FY2007 the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSCA)
within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as Part A of Title IV,
21st Century Schools. The act is likely to be considered for reauthorization by the
110th Congress. Funds are authorized for the SDFSC program, which is the federal
government’s primary initiative to prevent drug abuse and violence in and around
schools. Through the program, state educational agencies, local educational
agencies, and outlying areas are awarded grants by formula to create programs
deterring drug abuse and violence among elementary and secondary students.
Discretionary funds support national programs for various national leadership
projects to prevent drug abuse and violence among students from preschool through
postsecondary educational levels.
For FY2006, Congress appropriated $568.8 million for the program. For
FY2007, the President requested $216.0 million for national programs only, and
proposed no funding for state grant programs. The House Appropriations
Committee, however, recommended $526.0 million for the SDFSC program, and the
Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $492.5 million (both including
$310 million for state grants). For FY2008, the President has requested $323.2
million for the program, which includes $100 million for state grants and $224.2
million for national programs. The SDFSC program continues to operate at FY2006
levels under a continuing resolution through February 15, 2007.
In the 109th Congress, several bills were introduced related to school safety and
violence prevention. All of the bills were referred to the appropriate committee, but
died at the end of the 109th Congress, except one (H.R. 3010). H.R. 3010, the
Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related
Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-149), was amended by the Senate to
require the Secretary of Education to conduct a study evaluating the effectiveness of
violence prevention programs that receive funding under SDFSCA. This
amendment, however, was not included in the conference agreement and did not
become law. Another amendment to H.R. 3010 was introduced on the Senate floor
to increase funding for the SDFSC program, but was ruled out of order by the
chairman. One bill has been introduced thus far in the 110th Congress related to
SDFSCA. H.R. 354, the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE
Act), would amend the ESEA by requiring states to allow a student attending a
persistently dangerous public school, who has been a violent-crime victim on school
property, while riding a school bus, or attending a school function, to transfer to a
safe public school within the school district. The bill was referred to the House
Education and Labor Committee, but no further action has occurred.
This report discusses the 107th Congress SDFSCA reauthorization and
appropriations to fund the SDFSC program, and possible 110th Congress
In troduction ......................................................1
Most Recent Developments..........................................1
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program:
Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART)..........................3
Appropriations and Funding History...................................5
The Gun-Free Schools Act...........................................8
Legislation in the 109th Congress......................................8
Legislation in the 110th Congress.....................................10
Possible Reauthorization Issues......................................11
Reporting Up-to-Date School Crime Data..........................11
Restructuring Responsibility for Assessing the
SDFSCA State Grant Program...............................12
Department of Homeland Security Funding for K-12 Schools..........12
Underreporting School Crime...................................12
List of Tables
Table 1. SDFSC Appropriations Funds,
FY2003-FY2008, by Grant Program...............................7
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools
and Communities Act:
Reauthorization and Appropriations
The 107th Congress considered and approved reauthorization legislation to
amend and extend through FY20071 the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
(ESEA) and the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSCA). The
ESEA (and, therefore, the SDFSCA) is likely to be considered for reauthorization in
the 110th Congress.
Most Recent Developments
For FY2008, the President requested $324.2 million for the program — $100
million for state grants, and $224.2 million for national programs (see “Possible
Reauthorization Issues,” below, for the Administration’s reauthorization proposals).
For FY2007, the President requested $216.0 million for the program that would fund
the national programs component only. The President did not request funding for the
state grant component (see the discussion below). The House Appropriations
Committee, however, recommended $526.0 million, including $310 million for state
grants (H.R. 5647), and the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $492.5
million, which also includes $310 million for the state grant program (S. 3708). For2
FY2006, Congress appropriated $568.8 million for the SDFSC program. This figure
includes $346.5 million for state grants and $222.3 million for national programs.
The program continues to operate at FY2006 levels under a continuing resolution
through February 15, 2007.
This report discusses the 107th Congress SDFSCA reauthorization and
appropriations to fund the SDFSC program. For background information about the
program, see CRS Report RL30482, The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and
Communities Program: Background and Context.
1 The General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) states that “The authorization
appropriations for, or duration of, an applicable program shall be automatically extended for
one additional fiscal year unless Congress, in the regular session that ends prior to the
beginning of the terminal fiscal year of such authorization or duration, has passed legislation
that becomes law and extends or repeals the authorization of such program.” (20 USC
1226a). This means that the ESEA’s reauthorization is automatically extended through
2 This figure reflects a 1% across-the-board rescission required by P.L. 109-148.
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA, P.L. 107-110) amended and
reauthorized SDFSCA as Part A of Title IV — 21st Century Schools. It authorizes
funds for the SDFSC program, which is the federal government’s major initiative to
prevent drug abuse and violence in and around schools. It awards state grants by
formula to outlying areas, state educational agencies (SEAs), and local educational
agencies (LEAs) in all 50 states, the District of Columbia (DC) and the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Also, funds go to a state’s Chief Executive Officer
(Governor) for creating programs to deter youth from using drugs and committing
violent acts in schools. National programs are supported through discretionary funds
for a variety of national leadership projects designed to prevent drug abuse and
violence among all educational levels, from preschool through the postsecondary
For FY2002, $650 million was authorized for state grants and such sums as
necessary for each succeeding fiscal year through FY2007. Of the funds authorized,
the Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; 1% or
$4.75 million (whichever is greater) is reserved for the Secretary of the Interior to
administer programs for Indian youth; and 0.2% is reserved to provide programs for
native Hawaiians. The remaining funds are distributed to the states, DC, and Puerto
Rico, by a formula of 50% based on school-aged population and 50% based on ESEA
Title I, Part A concentration grants for the preceding fiscal year. No state receives
less than the greater of one-half of 1% (0.5%) of the total allotted to all of the states
or the amount the state received for FY2001, under prior law. If total appropriations
for state grants are less than the FY2001 level ($428.6 million), as has been the case
in recent years, each state receives an equal proportional share of its FY2006 grant.
State grant funds in any amount may be redistributed to other states if the
Secretary determines that a state will not be able to use the funds within two years of
the initial award. Also, a limitation is included stipulating that funds appropriated
for national programs may not be increased unless state grant funding is at least 10%
more than the previous fiscal year’s appropriation. Language in the FY2005
Consolidated Appropriations Act negated the “limitation” provision for FY2006.
Since the FY2006 national programs appropriation was less than its FY2005
appropriation, however, the limitation did not appear to apply. For FY2007, the
Administration did not suggest funding for state grants, so the limitation provision
would not need to be considered.
Of the total state allotment, 20% goes to the Governor to award competitive
grants and contracts to LEAs, community-based groups, other public entities, private
groups and associations. The Governor may use not more than 3% of the funds for
An SEA must distribute at least 93% of its allotment to LEAs for drug and
violence prevention and education programs and activities. Of those funds, 60% are
allocated based on the relative amount LEAs received under ESEA Title I, Part A for
the previous fiscal year, and 40% are based on public and private school enrollments.
Also, of the amount received from the state, LEAs may use not more than 2% for
SEAs may use up to 3% of their allotments for administering the program. In
FY2002, they also could have used (in addition to the 3% for administrative costs),
1% of their allotment (minus funds reserved for the Governor) to implement a
uniform management information and reporting system (UMIRS). Funds could have
been used directly or through grants and contracts to create the UMIRS, which was
designed to collect information on truancy rates; the incidence, seriousness, and
frequency of violence and drug-related crimes that resulted in suspending and
expelling students in elementary and secondary schools in a state; the kinds of
curricula, programs, and services provided by the Governor, SEAs, LEAs, and other
fund recipients; and the incidence and prevalence of drug use and violence among
minors, age of onset of such behavior, and the perception of health risk and social
disapproval for such behavior. SEAs may use not more than 5% of allotted funds for
state activities for: planning, developing, and implementing capacity building;
providing technical assistance and training, evaluation, and program improvement
services; and for coordinating activities for LEAs, community-based groups, and
other public and private entities.
Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART)
PART is an instrument that was developed by the Administration to examine
the performance of certain programs across federal agencies. In 2002 and in 2006,
the state grants component of the SDFSC program was rated by the instrument. The
state grants component was found to be “ineffective” because ED was unable to
demonstrate that those programs worked and because state grant funds were judged
to be distributed too thinly to support quality interventions.3 The Administration
determined that the program provided approximately 64% of LEAs with funding that
was less than $10,000 per year, which it concluded was typically too small to conduct
general and effective drug prevention and school safety programs. Also, it was
decided that the state grants program did not have a track record producing
measurable or positive outcomes. Because of the PART assessment and fiscal
constraints affecting the FY2007 budget, the Administration proposed to terminate
the state grants program in order to fund what it considered to be higher-priority
programs, including several SDFSC national programs.4
PART determined that the national program component of SDFSC held more
promise in achieving important results and in helping to enlarge the nation’s
knowledge base on effective methods and actions related to drug and violence
prevention. The Administration believed that national programs provided direct
3 Department of Education, Fiscal Year 2007 Justifications of Appropriation Estimates, to
the Congress, vol. I, p. F-18.
support to select LEAs in sufficient funding amounts potentially to be able to make
a difference in such programs and would allow grantees and independent evaluators
to assess progress, hold projects accountable, and measure the effectiveness of such
The Department of Education explained that the department’s strategy to
determine whether positive outcomes were occurring as a result of the state grants
program was to use national survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. It will use these data along
with data that reveal the extent SDFSC state grant recipients implement research-
based programs, to determine how widespread teen drug use and violence are in the
nation. Also, ED is conducting an evaluation “using rigorous methodology for
measuring the impact of promising interventions, and supporting grants and technical
assistance to help States improve the collection, analysis, and use of data to improve
the quality, and report the outcomes, of their SDFSC programs.”6
The authorization for national programs is such sums as necessary for FY2002
through FY2007. Funds available under national programs allow the ED Secretary
to consult with the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, the Director
of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the Attorney General
to administer programs aimed at preventing violence and illegal drug use among
students and promoting their safety and discipline. Also, from national program
funds, up to $2 million may be reserved for evaluating the national impact of the
SDFSC program, and an amount necessary is reserved to continue the Safe
Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) initiative.7 In FY1999, the National Coordinator
Initiative was created under national programs allowing LEAs to recruit, hire, and
train persons to serve as SDFSC program coordinators in middle schools. ED
officials believed that middle school students were at the age where they were most
likely to begin experimenting with drugs and becoming more involved in violence
and crime. NCLBA expanded the coverage of this permissive activity for national
coordinators to serve as drug prevention and school safety program coordinators in
all schools with notable drug and safety problems. Funding for this initiative,
however, was terminated in FY2004.
National program funds may be made available as formula grants to states with
50% of allotted funds based on school-aged population and 50% based on ESEA
Title I, Part A concentration grants for the preceding fiscal year. No state would
receive less than one-half of 1% (0.5%) of the total allotted to all of the states.
Competitive grants may be awarded, in consultation with the Administrator of the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA, within
6 Ibid., p. F-19.
7 This initiative is funded jointly with HHS and the Department of Justice to assist school
districts and communities in developing and implementing community-wide projects in
order to create safe and drug-free schools and encourage healthy childhood development.
HHS), to LEAs allowing school districts to develop and implement programs to
reduce alcohol abuse in secondary schools. In addition, grants may be awarded to
LEAs, non-profit community-based groups, or to a partnership between an LEA and
such an organization for assistance in creating and supporting mentoring programs
and activities for children with greatest need in middle schools to assist them in
successfully making the transition to secondary school.
Other permissive initiatives authorized under national programs include:
!allowing the ED Secretary to make grants to LEAs and community-
based groups to assist localities most directly affected by hate
!creating a School Security Technology and Resource Center at the
Sandia National Laboratories in partnership with the National Law
Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center — Southeast and
the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement in Little Rock,
Arkansas, to be administered by the Attorney General as a resource
for LEAs to assess school security, develop security technology,
evaluate and implement such security, and to provide technical
assistance for improving school security; and
!establishing a National Center for School and Youth Safety to be
jointly created by the ED Secretary and the Attorney General to
provide emergency assistance to local communities in response to
school safety crises, to establish an anonymous student hotline so
students can report possible violent behavior, to provide consultation
to the public regarding school safety, to compile information about
best practices related to school violence prevention, and to provide
outreach to rural and impoverished communities.
Appropriations and Funding History
For FY2008, the President requested $324.2 million for the SDFSC program —
$100 million for state grants and $224.2 million for national programs. For FY2007,
the President requested $216.0 million for the SDFSC program. As in his FY2006
request, the President did not request funding for state grant programs, but only for
the national program component. The House Appropriations Committee, however,
recommended a total of $526.0 million, including $310 million for state grants and
$216.0 million for the national programs (H.R. 5647). The Senate Appropriations
Committee (S. 3708) recommended $492.5 million for the SDFSC program ($276.5
million more than requested, but $76.3 million less than the FY2006 appropriation).
The Senate Committee’s recommendation also includes $310 million for the state
grant program, but $182.5 million for the national programs ($39.9 million less than
the FY2006 appropriation). For FY2006, the President requested $317.3 million for
the SDFS program (also only for national programs). Congress, however,8
appropriated $568.8 million, which included $346.5 million for state grants and
$222.3 million for national programs.
8 This figure reflects a 1% across-the-board rescission required by P.L. 109-148.
The Administration noted that the reason it did not request state grant funding
was because of fiscal constraints affecting the FY2007 budget, and because a PART
review (discussed above) found that the SDFSC state grants component was
“ineffective.” Also, for FY2007, the President requested $216.0 million for national
programs, which is $6.3 million less than the FY2006 appropriation.
For FY2008, the President did not request funding for the mentoring program.
For FY2007, the President requested $19 million for the mentoring program (within
the national programs’ total) because FY2007 was the final year of a two-year phase-
out of the mentoring program, which the Administration believed would have met
its objectives.9 To support the FY2007 final year for the program, the House and
Senate Appropriations Committees both recommended $19 million as requested. For
FY2006, Congress appropriated the exact amount the President requested ($49.3
million) for mentoring. A required 1% across-the-board discretionary FY2006
budget reduction, however, slightly lowered mentoring funding to $48.8 million.
Under national programs, the Administration did not request funding for the
Alcohol Abuse Reduction (AAR) program from FY2005 through FY2008, because
it was believed to be duplicative of other SDFSC-funded activities. Congress,
however, appropriated $32.7 million for AAR for each of FY2005 and FY2006.
With the FY2006 required 1% across-the-board rescission, funding was slightly
reduced for the program, to $32.4 million. For FY2007, the House Appropriations
Committee did not recommend funding for AAR. The Senate Appropriations
Committee, however, recommended $32.4 million for AAR, the same as the FY2006
appropriation. The SDFSC program continues to operate at FY2006 levels under a
continuing resolution through February 15, 2007.
Table 1 presents an appropriation funding history for the program.
9 Department of Education Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Summary — Feb. 6, 2006, p. 25, at
[http://www.ed.gov/about/ove rview/budget/budget07/summary/edlite-s ection2a.html ].
Table 1. SDFSC Appropriations Funds,
FY2003-FY2008, by Grant Program
($ in thousands)
ProgramaFY2003FY2004 FY2005FY2006fPres. Req.Pres. Req.
Na tional b c d e g h
programs $247,079 $233,295 $234,580 $222,334 $215,992 $224,200
Total funding $716,028$674,203$671,961$568,834$215,992$324,200
Source: Department of Education FY2004 Justifications of Appropriation Estimates to the Congress,
vol. I, pp. F-5, F-14 and Department of Education Fiscal Year 2003 Congressional Action, Feb. 26,
2003, pp. 5-6, Department of Education Fiscal Year 2006 Congressional Action, July 18, 2005, p. 7,
and ED Fiscal Year 2007 President’s Budget, Feb. 6, 2006, Fiscal Year 2007 ED Budget Summary:
Elementary and Secondary Education, Feb. 6, 2006, and ED Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Summary, Feb.
a. SDFSC is a forward-funded program. Total funds usually are available from July 1 of the fiscal
year appropriated through Sept. 30 of the following fiscal year.
b. Includes $16.1 million for the National Coordinator Initiative, $49.7 million for the Community
Service for Expelled of Suspended Students grant, $24.8 million for Alcohol Abuse Reduction,
$17.4 million for the Mentoring Program, and $4.97 million for Project SERV.
c. All FY2004 figures reflect the FY2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 108-199), and the
required 0.59% across-the-board budget reduction, as reported by the ED Budget Service.
Includes $8.06 million for the National Coordinator Initiative, $29.8 million for Alcohol Abuse
Reduction, $49.7 million for the Mentoring Program, and $94.4 million for Safe
Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS). No new funds were appropriated for Project SERV.
d. All FY2005 figures reflect the 0.80% across-the-board reduction through the FY2005 Consolidated
Appropriations Act. Includes $49.307 million for the Mentoring Program, $32.736 for Alcohol
Abuse Reduction, $89.280 million for SS/HS, $29.760 million to improve student safety and
security, and $9.920 million for drug testing programs for students. No new funds were
appropriated for Project SERV.
e. Includes, among other activities, $48.8 million for the Mentoring Program, $79.2 million for
SS/HS, $32.4 million for Alcohol Abuse Reduction; $9.09 million for drug testing programs for
students; and $1.43 million for Project SERV.
f. All FY2006 figures reflect a required 1% across-the-board rescission.
g. Includes $79 million for SS/HS, $52 million for drug prevention or school safety programs that are
scientifically based or will use such research to demonstrate their effectiveness, $26 million for
a school emergency preparedness initiative that is coordinated with the Department of Homeland
Security, $15 million for school-based drug testing programs for students, $5 million for Project
SERV, and $19 million for mentoring grants.
h. Includes $79.2 million for SS/HS, $59 million for drug prevention or school safety programs
informed by scientifically based research or that will use such research to demonstrate their
effectiveness, $15 million for a school emergency preparedness initiative, $17.9 million for
school-based student drug testing programs, $10 million for Project SERV, and $24.2 million
for character education programs in elementary and secondary schools.
The Gun-Free Schools Act
The Gun-Free Schools Act (GFSA), which was Title XIV, Part F of the ESEA,
was incorporated as part of SDFSCA because of its close relationship with the
SDFSC program. This provision calls for each state receiving funds under the No
Child Left Behind Act to have a law that requires LEAs to expel for one year any
student bringing a weapon to school. The chief administering officer of a LEA,
however, can modify the expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis. GFSA does
not prevent a state from allowing a LEA to provide educational services to an
expelled student in an alternative setting.
Each LEA requesting SEA assistance through GFSA funds must assure the state
that the LEA is complying with requirements concerning the expulsion of students
mentioned above, and must describe the circumstances that led to the expulsions,
including the school’s name, the number of students expelled, and the type of
firearms involved. Each SEA must report the information received from the LEA
annually to the ED Secretary. LEAs can not receive GFSA funds unless they have
a policy requiring that any student who brings a firearm or weapon to school is
reported to the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system.
GFSA requirements do not apply to a firearm that is lawfully stored inside a
locked vehicle on school property, or if the firearm will be used for LEA approved
or authorized activities, and the LEA adopts appropriate safeguards to guarantee
Legislation in the 109th Congress
During the 109th Congress, several bills were introduced related to school safety
and violence prevention. All of the bills were referred to the appropriate Committee,
but died at the end of the 109th Congress, except one (H.R. 3010). H.R. 3010, the
Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related
Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-149) was amended by the Senate to
require the ED Secretary to conduct a study evaluating the effectiveness of violence
prevention programs that receive funding under SDFSCA. This amendment,
however, was not included in the conference agreement and did not become law.
Furthermore, there was no similar provision included by the House.10 Another
amendment to H.R. 3010 was introduced on the Senate floor to increase funding for
the SDFSC program, but was ruled out of order by the chairman.
The other measures introduced were H.R. 283, the Bullying and Gang
Prevention for School Safety and Crime Reduction Act of 2005; H.R. 284, which
would have amended SDFSCA to include bullying and harassment prevention
programs; H.R. 3655, the School Violence Prevention Act of 2005; H.R. 5295, the
10 U.S. Congress, Conference Committee, 2005, Making Appropriations for the Departments
of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies for the Fiscal
Year Ending September 30, 2006, and for Other Purposes, conference report to accompanythst
H.R. 3010, H.Rept. 109-337, 109 Cong., 1 sess. (Washington: 2005), p. 112.
Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006; S. 1974, the Drug Free Varsity Sports Act
of 2005; and S. 4028, Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth Act of 2006.
The Bullying and Gang Prevention for School Safety and Crime Reduction Act
of 2005 (H.R. 283) was introduced by Representative Sanchez on January 6, 2005.
Referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the House
Judiciary Committee, the bill would have amended SDFSCA specifically to cover
bullying and gang prevention as well as drug and violence prevention. Also, the
Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 would have been amended
(Sec. 1801 relating to Juvenile Accountability Block Grants) to create and maintain
accountability-based programs11 designed to enhance school safety that could include
research-based bullying and gang prevention programs.
H.R. 284 was introduced on January 6, 2005, by Representative Shimkus (with
46 cosponsors) to amend SDFSCA to include bullying and harassment prevention
programs. It was also referred to the House Education and the Workforce
Committee. The legislation would have included the terms bullying and harassment
under the definition of violence, and provided for bullying and harassment prevention
The School Violence Prevention Act of 2005 (H.R. 3655) was introduced by
Representative Baca on September 6, 2005, and referred to the House Education and
the Workforce Committee. The bill directed the ED Secretary to review and revise
the SDFSCA Principles of Effectiveness guidelines to improve state and local
prevention programs, and to ensure that the guidelines met the findings of a 2002
study prepared for ED.12
H.R. 5295, the Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006, was introduced on May
4, 2006, by Representative Geoff Davis, and referred to the House Education and the
Workforce Committee. The House passed the measure by voice vote on September
Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The act would have required
LEAs to have policies in effect that would allow full time teachers or officials to
search students on school property who were under reasonable suspicion (based on
professional opinion and judgment) to ensure that the school and students would
remain free from the threat of weapons, illegal drugs, or dangerous materials.
Furthermore, the bill stated that any LEA that did not comply with those
requirements would have been denied SDFSCA funds after FY2008.
11 Accountability-based programs are those that hold youth liable or legally responsible for
12 The study was entitled, “Wide Scope, Questionable Quality, Three Reports from the Study
on School Violence and Prevention.” The effort was funded by ED and conducted in
collaboration with DOJ’s National Institute of Justice, to explore the extent of problem
behavior in the nation’s schools and aspects of various initiatives to prevent delinquency in
schools. Released in Aug. 2002, detailed information about the reports is available at
[ h t t p : / / www.ed.gov/ o f f i ces/ OUS/ PES/ s chool _i mp r o ve me nt .ht ml #3-r e por t s ] .
The Drug Free Varsity Sports Act of 2005 (S. 1974) was introduced by Senator
Bill Nelson on November 8, 2005 and referred to the Senate HELP Committee. The
legislation directed the ED Secretary (acting through the Office of SDFS) to award
competitive grants to SEAs to conduct statewide pilot programs to test high school
students for performance-enhancing drug use.
The Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth Act of 2006 (S. 4028) was
introduced by Senator Menendez on September 29, 2006 and referred to the Senate
Judiciary Committee. The bill would have reauthorized SDFSCA and increased the
state grants authorization level from $650 million to $700 million for FY2007, and
would have authorized $400 million for national programs for FY2007. The bill
would have authorized not less than $40 million for the National Coordinator
Initiative for each fiscal year stipulated, and would have required LEAs to hire
individuals who were gang prevention coordinators as well as drug prevention and
safety program coordinators. Furthermore, for mentoring program grants, the bill
would have required the ED Secretary to reserve not less than $50 million to award
such grants. It would have stipulated that when awarding competitive grants for
mentoring programs, the ED Secretary would give priority to each eligible entity that
served elementary and middle school children with greatest need who lived in rural
and high crime areas, and lived in troubled homes, or attended schools with violence
problems. The measure also would have added an Anti-Gang Discretionary Grant,
stipulating that the ED Secretary reserve not less than $50 million to award
competitive grants to nonprofit groups so they could create programs to assist public
elementary and secondary schools in providing an innovative way to combat gang
activity in the school and surrounding community. Priority would have been given
to applicants describing programs targeting teens living in a community with a crime
rate above the average crime level of the state in which the community was located.
Legislation in the 110th Congress
One bill has been introduced thus far in the 110th Congress related to SDFSCA.
H.R. 354, the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE Act),
introduced by Representative McCarthy on January 9, 2007, would amend the ESEA
requiring states to allow a student attending a public elementary or secondary school
“that does not have a safe climate for academic achievement,” or who becomes a
violent crime victim on school property, while riding a school bus, or attending a
school function, to transfer to a safe public school within the same school district,
including a private charter school. Furthermore, the bill would provide the option of
counseling or removal of the offender, where appropriate.
The current ESEA provision (Title IX, Part E, Subpart 2, Sec. 9532, Unsafe
School Choice Option) stipulates that a student who attends a persistently dangerous
public elementary or secondary school, or who becomes a violent crime victim while
in or on the grounds of a public school he or she attends, must be allowed to attend
a safe public school within the same school district, including a public charter school.
H.R. 354 differs from current law by not using the term “persistently dangerous,”
stipulating that a student be allowed to attend a safe school who becomes a victim not
only in or on school grounds, but also while riding a school bus, or attending a school
function, and providing the option of counseling or removal of the offender. H.R.
354 was referred to the House Education and Labor Committee (formerly the House
Education and the Workforce Committee). To date, no further action has occurred.
Possible Reauthorization Issues
In the 110th Congress, SDFSCA is likely to be considered for reauthorization.
In anticipation of those activities, the Administration has recommended significantly
restructuring the SDFSC program requiring SEAs to support LEAs in implementing
effective program models for creating safe, drug-free, healthy, and secure school
environments. Also, the Administration proposes consolidating the SDFSC national
programs into one flexible discretionary grant program that would focus on four
areas of priority — planning for and managing emergencies; violence and drug-use
prevention, including student drug testing; school culture and climate, including
character education; and other related emerging needs for improving the learning13
environment to help students reach high academic standards.
In addition to those reauthorization proposals, Congress might opt to consider
the following SDFSCA-related issues:14
Reporting Up-to-Date School Crime Data
Policy makers might consider requiring K-12 schools to obtain and report up-to-
date school crime data to law enforcement agencies. To date, there is no federal
mandate that requires tracking and reporting actual school crime and violence
incidents to law enforcement agencies. ED data on school crime and violence are
based upon limited self-reported surveys and academic research studies, not actual
crimes reported to law enforcement. Given DOJ’s expertise in public safety,
security, emergency preparedness training, crime, and crime data collection and
analysis, there might be consideration of giving that agency responsibility for school
safety and school crime data collection, instead of ED taking the lead in such efforts.
DOJ maintains the Uniform Crime Reporting System and has expertise in collecting
and analyzing crime beyond the expertise and scope of ED.
13 U.S. Dept. of Education, Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Summary, Section II: A. Elementary
and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities, Feb. 5, 2007, at
[ h t t p : / / www.e d.gov/ a bout/overview/ budget/budget08/summary/edlite-s ection2a.html#sdfsc].
14 Some of these issues were raised by the National School Safety and Security Services
(NSSSS) President Kenneth S. Trump, after attending the October 10, 2006 White House
Conference on School Safety. After a rash of school shootings in the early 2006-2007
school year, President Bush called for a Conference on School Safety. Several leading
school and youth safety experts and concerned citizens gathered to discuss how federal,
state, and local governments could work together and discuss best practices for keeping the
nation’s schools safe learning environments for students. The suggestions are detailed in
a report by Kenneth S. Trump, “Protecting America’s Schools: a National Call for Action,
“ October 16, 2006, National School Safety and Security Services, Cleveland, OH, available
Restructuring Responsibility for Assessing
the SDFSCA State Grant Program
The PART assessment found state grant programs to be ineffective because ED
was unable to show that those programs worked. One response that might be
considered is restructuring the responsibility for the state grant program. For
example, the responsibility for illicit drugs and alcohol prevention curriculum and
programs, suicide prevention and related education and curriculum-based programs
could remain at ED in collaboration with public health experts at HHS. On the other
hand, school safety, security and emergency preparedness programs and funding
might be placed under the direction of DOJ because of its public safety expertise, as15
Department of Homeland Security Funding for K-12 Schools
Another potential option might be legislation that would allow K-12 schools to
apply for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding for increased security
and emergency preparedness to protect against possible terrorist attacks upon schools
and school buses. In particular, it might be considered whether K-12 schools should
be eligible for national Critical Infrastructure programs.16
Underreporting School Crime
The Unsafe School Choice provision of the ESEA, as amended by the No Child
Left Behind Act, may have unintended consequences. By allowing students who
attend persistently dangerous schools (based on definitions by each individual state)
or have been victims of crime to transfer to a safer school, state education officials
might feel pressure to create definitions for persistently dangerous schools in such
a way that local schools would never meet that definition. Furthermore, eventually,
legal concerns might arise since what is defined as “persistently dangerous” in one
state, might not be considered as such in another state. Also, some school officials
may underreport school crime and violence because of potentially serious political
and administrative implications if their school is labeled as persistently dangerous.
By keeping their school crime data down to avoid being labeled as a persistently
dangerous school, such officials might reduce their opportunities to obtain funding
for school violence prevention grants, since the lack of corroborating data would
prohibit them from qualifying to receive such grants. Furthermore, it has been
observed that “The ‘persistently dangerous’ component of NCLB has no funding to
help schools identified as such to improve their school safety programs, while federal
16 By Executive Order of the President, national Critical Infrastructure Protection programs
consist of “continuous efforts to secure information systems for critical infrastructure,
including emergency preparedness communications, and the physical assets that support
such systems.” Protecting these systems is necessary for such sectors as
telecommunications, energy, financial services, manufacturing, water, transportation, health
care, and emergency services. See White House, President George W. Bush, “Executive
Order on Critical Infrastructure protection, Office of the Press Secretary, Oct. 16, 2001, at
[ ht t p: / / www.whi t e house.gov/ news/ r el eases/ 2001/ 10/ 200111016-12.ht ml ] .
and state budgets continue to cut school safety funds that could be used to help
prevent schools from becoming ‘persistently dangerous’ in the first place.”17
17 Kenneth S. Trump, “School Safety Implications of No Child Left Behind Law’s
“Persistently Dangerous Schools” Definitions, National School Safety and Security
Services, at [http://www.schoolsecurity.org/trends/persistently_dangerous.html].