Pennsylvania Awards $6.5 Million in School Safety Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has selected recipients for $6.5 million in funds as part of the Safe Schools Initiative Targeted Grant program in an effort to reduce school violence.

"Parents must feel safe sending their children to school each day, and students must feel supported academically, physically, and emotionally to succeed," said Pedro Rivera, secretary of education for Pennsylvania, in a prepared statement. "This targeted funding will allow Pennsylvania's schools to take the steps they need to provide not just a high-quality education to students, but also a safe and healthy environment conducive to learning."

The program is designed to achieve two goals:

  • Reduce unnecessary disciplinary actions and promote greater productivity, safety and learning; and
  • Enhance anti-violence efforts that include schools, parents, law enforcement, community organizations and local government.

"To provide funding for the training and compensation of school resource officers and school police officers, $3.9 million was awarded to 32 school entities, municipalities and police departments for the first year through the Safe Schools Targeted Grant and 39 school entities, municipalities and police departments in their second year of the grant," according to a news release. "First year applicants were eligible for a maximum individual grant of $60,000 for a school resource officer and $40,000 for a school police officer. Second year grantees received $30,000 for a school resource officer and $20,000 for a school police officer."

Another $2.6 million was awarded to 125 public school entities to fund programs designed to prevent violence and procure safety and security equipment. Individual entities were eligible for up to $25,000 and equipment included tools such as metal detectors, identification systems, surveillance equipment, emergency communications resources, electronic locksets and more.

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Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].