School Districts Can Apply for Grants to Update School Safety

June 27, 2014 — 4,444 views  

School Districts Can Apply for Grants to Update School Safety

A staggering 74 school shootings have taken place since the Newtown shooting in January of 2013. In that time, parents have expressed their outrage as teachers and administrators have wondered, increasingly publicly, what their options are to increase school safety and reduce the likelihood that their school is next on the list of targeted institutions. Until recently, that remained an open question. A recent federal incentive program, however, is about to change that uncertainty and give schools the resources they need to stay safer and to reduce the likelihood of future violent incidents as time goes on. Grant programs issued as part of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative are designed to further research, school safety improvements, and staffing levels, upon request from individual districts.

The First Component: Staff and Equipment to Improve School Safety

Whenever a school shooting happens, parents and teachers point out that it could have been prevented if only more safeguards or staff members were in place. The common reply from administrators is that there is simply no funding available to make the necessary purchases of staff additions that would have kept guns and other violent incidents away from students during the school day. That is all about to change as part of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative.

The Comprehensive School Safety Initiative sets aside as much as $50 million for the nation's schools, which will be released upon request in order to afford more security officers, checkpoints, and necessary equipment that will keep students safer in their classrooms. School districts must draft a proposal of their own that includes the staff or equipment needed, its approximate cost, and how it will be implemented to secure classrooms. They must also commit to a schedule of rather rapid improvement to security after the funds have been released. Administrators are responsible for coming up with this plan, submitting it, and answering any questions that might come up in terms of funding, implementation, or security improvements.

Research Into the Causes of Violence and Ways to Prevent It

The second component of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative announced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski is the ability to commit to further research into why violence dominates American schools. This research funding can be used to study mental illness, students' home lives, gun availability and gun safety education, and more. Research into the mental health of students in at-risk groups can also be conducted with funding from this part of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, making it easier for schools to work together toward an end to the significant amount of violence that has unnerved parents, students, and administrators over the past several years.

An Excellent Opportunity to Improve the Quality of School Life

Federal grant programs for education are rare, but they're almost always narrowly targeted and designed for the improvement of educational quality for all. That's certainly the case with the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. This program affords not only improvements to security staffing and safety equipment, but also to research that may help reduce occurrences of mental illness, violent rampages, bullying, and other associated reasons for the uptick in violent incidents on school campuses.