Yesterday, AASA was proud to be invited to attend the roll-out of President Obama's gun violence prevention recommendations where the President signed paperwork initiating 23 executive actions and outlined four major legislative proposals aimed at curbing gun violence. In his order, he asked Congress to do the following related to school security:
- Give $150 million for a Comprehensive School Safety program that would enable school districts and law enforcement agencies to hire school resource officers, school psychologists and social workers. The money could also be used to purchase or upgrade school safety equipment and train teams of staff members to assist students in a crisis.
- Provide $30 million in one-time state grants to allow school districts to develop strong emergency management plans
- Provide $50 million to help 8,000 schools train teachers and staff to improve school safety and climate
- Provide $15 million to help teachers and other adults who work with youth provide "Mental Health First Aid," enabling them to identify students with mental health problems early and steer them toward treatment
- Provide $25 million to offer students mental health services for trauma or anxiety
- Provide $50 million to train 5,000 additional meantal health profesionals serving children and young adults. The money would provide stipends and tuition reimbursement for new mental health professionals that want to work with young people, including in school settings.
He also direction action administratively. Specifically, he ordered U.S. Dept of Ed and other agencies to:
- Provide incentives for DOJ grants to police departments to hire school resource officers. The Department of Justice will also
develop a model for using school resource officers, including best practices on age-appropriate methods for working with students.
- Give schools and other institutions a model for how to develop and implement emergency plans
- Share best practices on school discipline. The Department of Education will collect and disseminate best practices on
school discipline polices and help school districts develop and equitably implement their policies
In addition, Obama's order stated that Congress should require states and school districts that receive school safety funding from the Department of Education to have comprehensive, up-to-date emergency plans in place for all of their schools. AASA also recommends that all school districts have comprehensive, current emergency plans, and we look forward to discussing how districts would have to report this information to the U.S. Dept of Education, particularly in light of the fact that some states (like CT) already require districts to share their emergency plans with the State Depts. of Ed.