State Reps. Share Support for the Victims of the Texas Shooting, Urge Action on Bills Enhancing School Safety in Arizona

Arizona State Representatives Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) and Kevin Payne (R-Sun City) shared a statement of support for the victims of the recent Texas school shooting.

“Like all Americans, we stand with the victims, survivors, and grieving families of the horrific tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. We are grateful for the heroic members of law enforcement whose actions helped prevent any greater loss of life,” said Bolick and Payne said in a joint statement Thursday.

The two also highlighted current legislative efforts to boost school safety across Arizona.

“In this legislative session, there are two bills currently pending in the state Senate that would help enhance school safety efforts here in Arizona. HB 2542 appropriates $5.16 million to help fund the school safety interoperability fund for 12 counties, and HB 2134 appropriates $150,000 to the Arizona Department of Education in FY 2022-2023 for the awarding of student safety grants to public schools,” they said. “Together, these school safety bills would go far to help prevent similar tragedies in our state and keep public school children and teachers safe, and we hope to see them approved by the legislature and enacted into law this session.”

HB 2542, sponsored by Payne, would appropriate $5.16 from the state general fund to the sheriffs of 12 counties to further establish school safety.

HB 2134, sponsored by Bolick, would distribute $150,00 amongst public schools in Arizona. Any school that receives the money must use it to implement electronic security measures.

According to the statement, both bills passed the House with “overwhelming bipartisan support earlier this session.”

The lawmakers’ remarks come in the wake of a deadly shooting spree Tuesday, when an 18-year-old opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Twenty-one people – 19 children and two teachers – were killed in the shooting. Controversy surrounds first responders’ actions during the violence, as police appeared to wait for at least 40 minutes before other law enforcement agencies arrived to storm the room and kill the shooter.

Some Arizona districts are already implementing new technology in schools to aid first responders in case of an active shooter. According to Arizona’s Family, Apache, Greenlee, Mohave, and Pinal counties are implementing the Mutualink app in classrooms.

The app includes a panic button that sends rapid alerts to law enforcement. Furthermore, the app gives law enforcement access to school security cameras and lets staff communicate with officers.

In 2022, three incidents categorized as mass shootings have occurred in Arizona. None took place at schools.

According to the Associated Press, 169 people have died in mass shootings at schools and universities across America. Robb is currently the third-worst mass school shooting in American history behind Virginia Tech in 2007 and Sandy Hook in 2012, the AP reported.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for the Arizona Sun Times and Star News Media. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Kevin Payne” by Elect Kevin Payne. Photo “Shawnna Bolick” by Representative Shawnna Bolick. Background Photo “Robb Elementary” by Robb Elementary.


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