School security is a hot-button issue, and there isn’t much doubt about that. As the Thanksgiving holiday break approaches, now is a good time to step back and reflect on how well the newly-installed security upgrades on your campus are helping. However, not all school districts have the cash to add metal detectors or video cameras. That’s why the federal Department of Justice has stepped up to do what they can to help improve schools across the nation.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) distributed $85.3 million dollars in the hopes that the funding will help bolster school security everywhere. The money is supposed to defray the costs of training students, staff, and faculty. It can also help the first responders who are on the scene after an incident involving an active shooter or some other traumatic event on school property. The goal of the new funding is to help prevent school violence and ensure that students have a safe space to focus on their studies and not worry about the outside world, at least for a few hours each day. The STOP School Violence Act of 2018 gave the DOJ new authority to start granting extra funds to wherever they were needed most. Two-hundred-fifteen awards were given out to schools, districts, and other educational institutions around the country in 2019 alone.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance
The grants were overseen and administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau is a division of the Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and is, in turn, responsible for the grants themselves. All of those resources were meant to help with re-developing threat assessment and response teams along with enhancing technological solutions. Improving the reporting of suspicious behavior is another goal that the money provides an incentive for; more school security measures such as locks, better lighting, and video management systems are included in the grant money.
Additional School Security Measures
Beyond paying for physical deterrents, the money was also meant to help in other ways. For example, law enforcement officers can benefit from supplemental training that discourages student violence against others and towards themselves. Plus, first responders can receive more accurate notifications of any incidents that can help them know what is happening when they arrive on the scene. Anonymous reporting is being emphasized so that anyone who sees something isn’t afraid to say something.
Moreover, mental health issues are also supposed to benefit from these grants, especially since that seems to be a growing concern related to school shootings and campus safety as a whole.
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