Creating a safe learning environment for students and educators is a top priority and vital to academic success in our nation’s K–12 schools. The U.S. government recognizes the need to support state and local leaders and has taken an active role in this effort by offering grants to promote safety.
Here’s a look at the grant application process and how technology plays an important role in streamlining communication and improving security measures.
STOP School Violence Program Grants
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) created the STOP School Violence Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting Program to improve security measures at schools through evidence-based strategies and programs. The Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI) was launched by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), DOJ’s research and development agency.
The initiative focuses on developing knowledge and strategies that can be applied to promote increased safety in K–12 schools throughout the country.
BJA manages the grant program and oversees the distribution of awards. They support local and state efforts to prevent and reduce school violence. These are BJA’s objectives:
- Provide funding for school violence prevention, training, anonymous reporting systems, threat assessment, and crisis intervention.
- Seek applications specifically that address the development and operation of school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams and the development of technology for local or regional anonymous reporting systems.
- Help address growing concerns with inconsistent implementation of modern, effective security infrastructure nationwide, particularly since the Sandy Hook Elementary attack in 2012. After this tragic event, it was determined that a lack of basic security measures played an enabling role.
What Can a Grant Be Used For?
Under the SVPP program, BJA awards school safety grants that can be used to:
- Train and educate teachers, administrators, and students on the prevention of violence.
- Purchase and install technology that expedites local law enforcement notification during an emergency.
- Install physical security measures, such as metal detectors, locks, enhanced lighting, and surveillance.
- Develop anonymous reporting systems for violent threats, including mobile apps, hotlines, and websites.
- Create threat assessment procedures and intervention teams to coordinate with law enforcement.
- Support measures that improve training, threat assessment reporting, and violence prevention.
In your grant submission, you may request funding for one or more of the purposes listed above. Keep in mind, the more thorough your application, the better your chances for success.
2020 Cares Act
The Cares Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) was recently passed and will help schools, healthcare facilities, manufacturing plants, office and material handling facilities with qualifying updates to the interior portion of their existing building.
Some updates that qualify fall under categories like control/automation, engineering services, lighting, power distribution equipment and safety, security and emergency communications.
To help with safety and communication, cellular signal repeaters are covered under this act and can help schools and facilities remain connected at all times.
Keep in mind that the CARES Act does not cover new construction, structural upgrades, external improvements (windows, roofing, etc.) or residential buildings.
Why Technology is Critical to K–12 School Safety
Government agencies have explored the role of technology in school safety and how it can help prevent and respond to school violence. A study sponsored by the NIJ revealed two of the most pressing issues: the enablement of two-way communication between teachers and emergency responders, and the integration of fragmented and outdated school safety policies, procedures, and training for school administrators and parents.
Strong cell coverage is essential to effective two-way communication. Teachers and students inside your school must be able to connect with emergency responders outside of the facility. Here are some of the challenges with indoor cell signal reception:
- Many schools are constructed of thick, signal-blocking concrete and brick, which prevents a cell signal from entering or leaving the building.
- Weak or nonexistent cell signals can also be problematic in classrooms located in a basement or lower level.
- Poor reception makes it nearly impossible to communicate critical information via phone calls or texts messages from inside a school.
For every one of these circumstances, WilsonPro offers a viable solution. For example, we can amplify an existing outside cell signal and push it to indoor areas where the signal is weak. Our goal is to help you prioritize your school’s needs and design a customized solution that best satisfies your coverage requirements.
Safety is critical in every K–12 learning environment. An all-inclusive, ongoing protection strategy is the foundation for emergency preparedness. Technology plays an important role in keeping your students and educators safe. We are ready to help you implement effective safety measures, centered on enhanced two-way cellular communication and tailored to work for your school.
Take the next step, contact WilsonPro today for a free consultation regarding cellular repeaters and safety for your K–12 school.