President Obama announced his plans to reduce gun violence and protect children. In the president’s plan to reduce gun violence and ensure safe schools, there are several proposed funds for education, including the following:
- A new Comprehensive School Safety program that will give $150 million to school districts and law enforcement agencies to hire school resource officers, school psychologists, social workers, and counselors.
- $30 million of one-time grants to states to help their school districts develop and implement emergency management plans.
- With technical assistance from the Department of Education, 18,000 schools have already put in place evidence-based strategies to improve school climate. These strategies involve certain steps for the whole school (like consistent rules and rewards for good behavior), with more intensive steps for groups of students exhibiting at-risk behavior, and individual services for students who continue to exhibit troubling behavior. The Administration is proposing a new, $50 million initiative to help 8,000 more schools train their teachers and other school staff to implement these strategies.
- Provide “Mental Health First Aid” training for teachers: Project AWARE includes $15 million for training for teachers and other adults who interact with youth to detect and respond to mental illness in children and young adults, including how to encourage adolescents and families experiencing these problems to seek treatment.
- Project AWARE also includes $40 million to help school districts work with law enforcement, mental health agencies, and other local organizations to assure students with mental health issues or other behavioral issues are referred to the services they need.
- To help schools break the cycle of violence, Congress should provide $25 million to offer students mental health services for trauma or anxiety, conflict resolution programs, and other school-based violence prevention strategies.
- Experts often cite the shortage of mental health service providers as one reason it can be hard to access treatment. To help fill this gap, the Administration is proposing $50 million to train social workers, counselors, psychologists, and other mental health professionals. This would provide stipends and tuition reimbursement to train more than 5,000 mental health professionals serving young people in our schools and communities.
Source: Report from Washington, Joel Packer, CEF