A Look Back at Federal School Safety Grants Awarded in 2019

Waukesha South High School Shooting
Gabriela Mauricio, right, a 14-year-old freshman, hugs her mother Meche Mauricio after the two were reunited outside Waukesha South High School in Wisconsin after a student-involved shooting.
Image: Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP

Learn from past school safety grants to prepare your grant applications for the next round of funding.

“History can familiarize, and it can warn.” — Timothy Snyder, “On Tyranny

On a recent road trip, I read Snyder’s great book aloud to my husband. I have since digested and analyzed the material. I sum up “On Tyranny” in five words: “We learn from our past.”

Since we learn experientially and from our past, let’s look back at 2019 and some Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded school safety grants. The DOJ awarded $85.3 million in grants to address school security, which includes funding to train and educate faculty, and support for first responders who help during school shootings.

These federal resources will help to prevent school violence and give our students the support they need to learn, grow and thrive,’ said Attorney General William P. Barr. “By training faculty, students and first responders, and by improving school security measures, we can make schools and their communities safer.”

In 2018, Congress passed the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act (STOP School Violence Act). STOP is the overarching act for school safety grants and funding. Under STOP, there were three funding opportunities for $53 million.

STOP School Violence Technology and Threat Assessment Solutions for Safer Schools Program ($29.5 million)

This grant funded 68 local education agencies. Funding provides school administrators, teachers, students and first responders the resources to conduct and publish threat assessments, create stand-up crisis intervention teams and implement anonymous reporting technology.

Pinellas County Schools (PCS) in Largo, Florida, was one of the grant awardees. PCS is “expanding Mental Health Awareness Training for all district staff, and increasing student access to Student Services staff and prevention efforts,” the school’s website explains. Additionally, the district is “refining threat assessment procedures to ensure concerns are addressed quickly and appropriately in support of students.”

STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program ($17.3 million)

This grant funded 43 state and local governments, federally recognizing Indian tribes and public agencies to provide multi-disciplinary training programs to school personnel and students. Funding addresses critical issues such as bullying, addiction and interpersonal violence through education sessions in consultation with school violence researchers, licensed mental health professionals, social workers, teachers, principals and other school personnel.

Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU) in Pennsylvania was awarded $500,000.

“DCIU will expand on its strong partnerships with the Delaware County District Attorney’s office, county government, Delaware County’s Office of Behavioral Health, and school districts throughout the county to train school personnel on the philosophy of trauma-informed care in conjunction with the use of evidence-based mental health models, crisis and response planning curriculums, to mitigate violent attacks on school grounds, and improve the operations of school threat assessments and crisis interventions,” wrote the Delaware County Daily Times.

STOP School Violence Training and Technical Assistance Program ($6 million)

The beneficiary was the “Regents of the University of Michigan to provide training and technical assistance to existing and future STOP School Violence grantees … and the criminal justice community on the subject of school violence and school safety, while also serving as a resource and training center for information and research about national and statewide school safety initiatives,” the OJP explained in a press release.

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) School Violence Prevention Program ($32.5 million)

The fourth prong of the STOP School Violence Act is the COPS School Violence Prevention Program. The COPS office is charged by the STOP School Violence Act to develop grant programs that provide funding to enhance school safety. Some items they fund include:

  • Training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and themselves
  • Metal detectors, locks, lighting and other deterrent measures
  • Technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency
  • Any other measure that the COPS Office determines may provide a significant

A recipient in Arizona, “Tucson Unified School District, received $525,000 that can go toward training for law enforcement officers, an expedited police notification system and deterrents, including metal detectors and locks,” KTAR News reported.

“The past is always tense, and the future, perfect.” — Zadie Smith

Learn from these past awarded grants and prepare for the next round of school safety grants.

About the Author

Dr. Judy Riffle owns Santa Cruz Grants & Consulting, LLC, and has raised over 18 million dollars for various schools, school districts, and nonprofits. Funded and managed grants include school formula grants such as Title I, Title IV, IDEA Basic, and Title III LEP. Funded competitive grants include: McKinney-Vento Supplemental Education for Homeless Children & Youth, State Tutoring, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, school improvement, CA Community Colleges Basic Skills and Student Outcomes Transformation, New York Learning Technology, Arizona Pilot Program on School Emergency Readiness, USDA Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program, USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine Program, Baptist Community Ministries, Safeway Foundation, Tucson Electric Power, Cox Charities, Del E. Webb Foundation, and Arizona Disabled Veteran Foundation. Dr. Riffle is a former teacher, education specialist, new teacher mentor, and administrator with degrees in special education, Deaf education, and educational leadership. Besides being a member of the Grant Professionals Association, she also serves as Vice-President for the Green Valley Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce.

Get Dr. Riffle’s tips on landing school safety grants:

How to Get School Safety Grants Funded

Learn why keeping students safe is a complicated endeavor:

Keeping Students Safe Is a Growth Industry Struggling to Fulfill Its Mission


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