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Sunday, February 25th, 2024

Justice Department announces more than $125M in STOP School Violence Act Grants

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced it would be providing nearly $126 million in funding to advance school safety under the STOP School Violence Act.

The grants fund safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, as well as school violence prevention efforts, training for school personnel and students, and evidence-based threat assessments. The grants will be awarded by the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

“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.”

Grants fall into two categories – the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018 (STOP School Violence Act) and the COPS School Violence Prevention Program.

The STOP School Violence Act provides funds directly to state and local governments, Indian Tribes, and public agencies (like school districts and law enforcement agencies) for programs to improve security at schools and on school grounds. It also provides grants to help students and teachers recognize, respond to and help prevent acts of violence. BJA awarded 78 grants totaling nearly $74 million to support training and education for school personnel and student on preventing violence against others and themselves, including anti-bullying training and specialized training for school officials to respond to mental health crises.

The COPS School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) provides funding for up to 75 percent of the cost of school safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools. The BJA awarded 152 SVPP grants totaling almost $52 million to be used in coordinating with law enforcement; training local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence; purchasing locks, lighting, and other deterrents; purchasing technology to notify local law enforcement of an emergency; and other security improvements.

“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.”