Hoosier schools receive federal grants to improve safety

Two Indiana school districts will be receiving grants from the $125 million the U.S. Department of Justice is offering to advance school safety under the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018.

The Hanover Community School Corporation in Lake County and the Rochester Community School Corporation in Fulton County have been appropriated $350,150 and $387,338, respectively. The funds were awarded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) School Violence Prevention Program.

“I applaud the Rochester and Hanover, Indiana School Districts in their endeavors to enhance school safety with these federal grants,” said Clifford D. Johnson, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.

The STOP School Violence Act gives the Justice Department 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. It also provides grants to ensure a positive school climate by helping students and teachers recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence.

“The Justice Department has no greater responsibility than protecting Americans from harm,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Schools must be safe places to learn, and today’s investment of more than $125 million under the STOP School Violence Act will help ensure that they are.”

In total, the COPS School Violence Prevention Program awarded 153 grants totally almost $52 million. The funds are to be used for measures that provide “a significant improvement in security” including deterrents like locks and lighting as well as training for local law enforcement officers in prevention of student violence and technology to notify law enforcement during an emergency.

Another $74 million was awarded to 78 recipients by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. It is unclear is any Indiana schools received an award.

The BJA money is 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.

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