OJP awards more than $125 million in support of school violence prevention

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FILE – In this July 24, 2020 file photo, Fairfax County Public School buses are lined up at a maintenance facility in Lorton, Va. The Justice Department is highlighting a number of actions school officials should take to increase safety, including improving mental health resources, monitoring social media accounts and improving physical safety measures. The report was released Tuesday and was a culmination of a federal school safety working group. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Nearly $126 million in funding, will be awarded to advance school safety under the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018 (the STOP School Violence Act) said the Department of Justice. Grants provided will help to ensure a positive school climate by helping students and teachers recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence.

The grants, awarded by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), will help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools in support of school violence prevention.

The 78 BJA annual awards, totaling almost $74 million, are intended to support training and education for school personnel and students on preventing violence against others and themselves, including anti-bullying training and specialized training for school officials to respond to mental health crises. Funds also help develop and implement multidisciplinary threat assessment or intervention teams and design technology solutions such as anonymous reporting systems, hotlines, and websites.

The COPS School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) provides up to 75% of the funding for school safety measures. The 153 SVPP awards, totaling almost $52 million, are used for training for local law enforcement officers in the prevention of student violence and other measures that provide a significant improvement in security.

OJP has the authority to provide awards directly to states, units of local government, Indian Tribes, and public agencies (such as school districts and law enforcement agencies) to improve security at schools and on school grounds through evidence-based school safety programs. The department provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law.

“School should be a haven for growth and development, not a source of anxiety and fear — and by no means should it ever be the scene of a crime,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon of OJP. “These investments will help communities address school violence, create better school climates and set up early detection teams to prevent tragedies in our places of learning.”

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