Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera today announced that $8.4 million in competitive Safe Schools Targeted grants have been awarded to prevent and reduce violent incidents in schools, to purchase safety and security-related equipment, and to provide for the training and compensation of school resource and police officers.
“Parents and students deserve to have confidence that our classrooms are safe places for children and teachers,” said Governor Wolf. “This funding, along with the new $60 million we will invest through the School Safety and Security Committee, supports the joint efforts of schools, communities and the state to prevent violence and keep children safe.”
Today’s announcement follows the release in late August of the full report from the Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force created by Governor Tom Wolf and the Auditor General Eugene DePasquale after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The report includes detailed recommendations on how the state, community and school officials should work collaboratively with each other and with students and families to use all the tools at their disposal to prevent school-based violence from occurring.
The Safe Schools Targeted Grant program assists schools in:
- Reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promoting an environment of greater productivity, safety and learning; and
- Enhancing anti-violence efforts between schools and parents, local governments, law enforcement and community organizations.
“Parents must feel safe sending their kids to school, and students deserve a safe and healthy environment where they can grow, learn and succeed,” said Secretary Rivera. “This targeted funding helps schools secure the resources they need to provide a safe environment and builds on the Wolf Administration’s commitment to students and teachers across the commonwealth.”
Secretary Rivera noted that $1.04 million has been awarded to 60 public school entities to establish and implement programs to prevent and reduce violent incidents. Applicants were eligible to receive up to $20,000 to fund programs.
Another $1.04 million was awarded to 46 public school entities to procure security/safety-related equipment. Applicants were eligible to receive up to $25,000. Security-related equipment includes student, staff and visitor identification systems; metal detectors; protective lighting; surveillance equipment; special emergency communications equipment; electronic locksets; deadbolts and theft control devices; and training in the use of the security-related technology.
To provide funding for the training and compensation of school resource officers (SRO), $3.3 million was awarded to 75 school entities, municipalities and police departments. SROs are law enforcement officers from local, county or state law enforcement agencies assigned to schools in cooperative agreements with education officials. Applicants were eligible for a maximum individual grant of $60,000.
An additional 88 school entities received $3 million for the training and compensation of school police officers (SPO), who are employed directly by the school districts. Applicants were eligible for a maximum individual grant of $40,000.
PDE’s program is separate from the new $60 million School Safety and Security Grant program created this year and administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). The deadline for schools to apply for these PCCD grants is Oct. 12. For more information about the program, please visit the PCCD website or contact RA-CD-SSSC@pa.gov