Federal Funding

ED Pumps Funding into School Security, Safety

The United States Department of Education is beefing up support for school safety and security programs. ED this week launched $26 million in emergency management grants, which are being awarded to 108 school districts; the department has also announced $32.8 million in safety and health grants.

According to ED, the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) discretionary grants, will be targeted toward improving the emergency management plans of districts in 34 states. Funds will be used for improving emergency management plans in the 108 districts that received the awards.

According to ED, "In addition to addressing the four phases of emergency management, plans must commit school districts to coordinate with officials in law enforcement, local government, public safety, public health and mental health; train school officials in emergency management; and provide a method for communicating emergency and reunification procedures to parents and guardians. Projects should support the implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and include plans designed to prepare districts for infectious disease outbreaks and take into consideration districts' special needs populations."

"The safety of kids is our number one priority," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement released this week. "In order for children to learn, they have to feel safe. It's our responsibility to help schools create safe learning environments for students. These grants will support that effort."

Awards for individual districts ranged from about $53,000 to more than $724,000. A complete list of recipients and their awards can be found here.

In other ED funding news, the department has also announced that more than $32.8 million in grants has been awarded to 29 local education agencies in 18 states and the District of Columbia in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice. These funds are being awarded through the Safe Schools-Healthy Students Initiative for the purpose of implementing community-wide plans focusing on "safe school environments and violence prevention activities." It aims to provide "integrated resources for prevention and early intervention services for children and youth."

"In community after community, this initiative has been the catalyst for bringing schools and youth-serving organizations together to build and expand evidence-based programs to prevent violence, promote mental health and boost young people's academic achievement," said Eric Broderick, acting administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), also in a statement released this week. SAMHSA manages the program for HHS. "The dividends for children, families and communities at large have been unprecedented: lower rates of school violence, more mental-health services for more children, better attendance and improved academic performance."

It will also target some non-violent activities that the government currently considers undesirable and will help support early childhood social and emotional learning programs and mental health services. Further information about the Safe Schools-Healthy Students Initiative can be found here. A complete list of recipients can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .