As Capitol Hill winds up to hold further hearings this week to ascertain who is culpable for the gross lack of security at our facilities in Benghazi, and who is responsible for failing to provide reinforcement to the four individuals who ultimately died there on September 11, 2012, our emotions are diverted to the tragedy that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, December 14. 2012.
As a nation mourns the death of 20 young children and 7 of their teachers ad administrators to the hands of a madman in Newtown, CT, startling and infuriating information is developing about school safety programs that fell by the wayside during the tenure of the Obama Administration.
Specifically, over a year ago, the Obama Administration removed from its Educational budget request monies for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Program. The last grant was awarded in 2011.
This funding was cut off in spite of 2007 warnings from the General Accounting Office that “many school district officials said that they experience challenges in planning for emergencies due to a lack of equipment, training for staff, and expertise and some school districts face difficulties in communicating and coordinating with first responders and parents.”
In fact, in 2000, under the Bush Administration Newtown, CT public schools bid on and received $125,000 in funding under the COPS in Schools program. This program provided $811 million to place police officers in schools nationwide, and was cut under this administration.
Yet other programs like the Justice Department Secure Our Schools Program which afforded communities $110 million dollars yearly between 2002 and 2011 and the School Safety Initiative, which afforded $53 million yearly between 1998 and 2010 were left out of the Obama Education Department budget.
Yet, in a tearful speech, President Obama said, “Our hearts are broken today. As a country we have been through this too many times. These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
The inaction of the Obama administration on the safety of children in schools is reminiscent of its callous disregard for the safety of its embassy staff, and certainly of its valiant Navy SEALS who died on a rooftop for want of available missile support, likely ordered to “Stand Down” by a callous and cold hearted President.
Long before we begin to consider taking rights given by our Constitution from innocent citizens because of the actions of a madman, we need to inspect the performance of a Presidential administration that cuts funding to the protection of children.