Streamlining K–12 Safety and Security Grant Writing
Never at any point in history have parents, teachers, and staff had to worry so much about a child’s safety at school. Vandalism, bullying, fighting, and other volatile confrontations have long been troublesome concerns that many K–12 schools and local education agencies (LEA) have had to contend with. However, the rise in active shooter tragedies over the past few decades has become the most prominent focal point in everyone’s minds. Though active shooter events at K–12 schools are considered rare, statistics don’t do much to assuage fears.
Preventative action involving security improvements is what parents, teachers, staff, and the public expect to see. As a result, there’s now an increased emphasis on safety and security technology such as surveillance cameras, perimeter protection, controlled access, and more robust door-opening solutions. Higher levels of awareness and increased training around procedures and proper use of protective measures have also become a top priority.
In addition, there is greater recognition of the need to invest more in teachers, guidance counselors, and school psychologists who are qualified to help children de-escalate from making tragic decisions—and, of course, to help students overcome fears and traumas stemming from extreme events.
At stake are the physical safety and mental health of those attending and working in our schools. Creating a secure and comfortable learning atmosphere is essential for academic success and provides peace of mind for students, teachers, staff, administrators, and parents alike.
Fortunately, serious action is being taken today to make K–12 schools safer, more secure, and healthier. Funding has increased dramatically across the country through annual federal grants, general funding from legislatures, and special bonds and levies at the local level.
Sources of K–12 Funding
Since 2020, the federal government has made $190 billion available through three tranches of its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (K–12 ESSER) as part of the CARES Act. ESSER III, released in March 2021, provided $123 billion to specifically address social-emotional, physical, and structural improvement programs. In addition, many state legislatures have allocated a significant increase in funding to ensure schools are better protected and prepared, especially in regions impacted most by tragedies.
This article originally appeared in the May / June 2023 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.
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