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Maryland Awarded $3.6 Million in Federal Grants to Strengthen School Safety

U.S. Department of Education, Department of Justice Funds

BALTIMORE – The Maryland State Department of Education has been awarded $3.6 million in federal grants designed to further strengthen classroom safety.

A five-year, $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow Maryland to implement the Maryland School Emergency Preparedness Program, a partnership between MSDE, local school systems, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and local emergency managers. In addition, a three-year, $1 million grant from the US Department of Justice, will allow MSDE to implement a new violence prevention model in schools across the State.

“Citizens here in our state and all across America want to know what government at all levels is doing to increase accountability and to implement common-sense reforms to keep our students safe,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Classrooms should never be a place of fear for our children, and no mom or dad should ever have to worry when they send their kids off to school whether their son or daughter is going to come home safely. Fortunately in Maryland we are ahead of the curve. We have already enacted many of the measures that other states are now just beginning to think about and these grants will help in our efforts.”

Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, said the grants will allow MSDE to bolster the security of every classroom in Maryland.

“Learning simply cannot take place in a school where students and teachers don’t feel safe,” Dr. Salmon said. “These funds will help Maryland update and modernize emergency operations plans in schools throughout the State, and utilize state-of-the-art techniques to better identify potential threats to student safety.”

The two grants continue Maryland’s innovative efforts to improve school security. For example:

• The U.S. Department of Education grant allows MSDE to implement the Maryland School Emergency Preparedness Program (MD-SEP). The MD-SEP will provide training and assistance to local systems in developing and implementing school emergency operations plans, developing or improving their links with community partners in school safety, and strengthen other aspects of emergency management.

• The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant allows MSDE to implement the Maryland Behavior Threat Assessment Model and Mental Health Training and Intervention Support Initiative. The grant, one of just six awards granted to states with populations greater than five million, is designed to quell school safety issues before they affect students. The program will help fulfill legislative mandates established by the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018.