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Board of Education Approves $100,000 Grant to Help Prevent School Violence

November 8th, 2019

At yesterday’s meeting, the Howard County Board of Education approved a $100,000 STOP School Violence: Prevention and Mental Health Training Program grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and Bureau of Justice Assistance. The award addresses multiple mental health training and implementation initiatives, including suicide prevention, crisis intervention teams and behavior threat assessment teams.

“The STOP School Violence grant helps with Howard County’s efforts to build school environments of safety, respect and emotional support,” said Caroline Y. Walker, Ph.D., executive director of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being. “The funded projects are crucial in developing nurturing school climates where students, teachers, administrators and families are attentive to social, emotional and academic needs, and have access to assistance and resources.”

The Bureau of Justice Assistance notes that successful reductions in school violence must include mental health programs and school safety training specific to prevention. The grant will support the creation and delivery of suicide prevention and crisis prevention and preparedness curriculums, and the formation, training and implementation of behavioral threat assessments teams at schools.

The projects heighten existing coordination among system leadership, school staff, law enforcement and other community agencies. In addition, the grant funds efforts to ensure consistent implementation of the three initiatives across all schools.

The grant-funded projects are part of a districtwide strategic plan to integrate comprehensive school safety planning and assessment efforts into every aspect of school planning and operations, as well as continue increasing coordination with community resources.

The grant will be managed under the leadership of the HCPSS Department of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being. The funded projects conclude by 2022, with the possibility of renewal.