Annapolis, MD – Today, the Senate and House passed Senator Roger Manno’s Senate Bill 1191 – Schools and Child Care Centers – State Grant Program – Security Upgrades for Facilities at Risk of Hate Crimes or Attacks. This important legislation authorizes the Maryland Center for School Safety to make grants to schools and child care centers determined to be at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their race, color, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin, for security-related technology and facility upgrades.
Senate Bill 1191 and the House cross-file, Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk’s HB1661, require the Center to allocate grants for security training, security cameras, security technology, door hardening, improved lighting, and other security-related facility upgrades. Funds for the grants are provided by the Governor in the annual state budget. Senate Bill 1191 also authorizes the Maryland State Board of Education to adopt regulations for receiving and considering applications, and disbursing funds.
“We will not tolerate hate in our communities. Not in my Maryland,” stated Roger. “Over the past few months, reports of hate speech and hate crimes have increased nationally and across the state. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center counted 42 reported hate incidents based on race, immigration status, gender, and religion, during a three-week period from January 21 to February 7, 2017 in Maryland. Montgomery County police also reported a 34 percent increase in hate crimes between November 2016 and February 2017. Most recently, Jewish day schools in Rockville and Annapolis received bomb threats on the same day. These facilities need resources to protect our folks, and we are going to get this done.”
As reports of hate crimes and incidents rise, we must not stand by as our children become targets because of their beliefs. As a legislature, we must now act to help our most vulnerable Marylanders feel safe and secure in their schools and communities.
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