October 8, 2018 Austin – Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has been awarded two Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act grants. Both federal grants, worth $1 million each, will be used to support mental health training for Texas school districts, as well as establish effective campus threat assessment practices across the state.
“Texas remains committed to providing a safe learning environment for every student on every public school campus across our state,” said Commissioner Morath. “By focusing on these two key areas of mental health and preventative measures, we strengthen our state’s ongoing commitment to school safety.”
The two STOP School Violence Act grants awarded the state will be used for the following:
- Statewide School Violence and Mental Health Training Program – An informal competitive grant program will assist Texas school districts in obtaining needed mental health training for staff and administrators. This training will serve the needs of students, while also providing awareness and connections to needed mental health services. The initial grants will be made available to the Alpine Independent School District, Italy Independent School District and Santa Fe Independent School District. Additional school districts will be added to the grant program through a competitive application process over the next two years. All grant funds will be awarded to provide the training needed to meet the identified needs of the district to prevent school violence from occurring.
- School Threat Assessment Teams – This grant will be used to support the statewide development, implementation and operation of school threat assessment teams. Texas schools currently lack formalized statewide training in the threat assessment process, which is critical to successfully preventing targeted acts of school violence. This statewide training program, which will be a collaborative effort between TEA, the Texas School Safety Center and SIGMA Threat Management, will properly equip school personnel with the skills needed to recognize, respond quickly to and prevent acts of violence across the state of Texas.
Commissioner Morath noted that the two grants of $1 million each represent the maximum grant awards for each category of the STOP School Violence grants.
Both issues were discussed and identified during Gov. Greg Abbott’s roundtable discussions on school safety held earlier this year. The need to implement statewide training in the threat assessment process is among the recommendations in the Governor’s School and Firearm Safety Action Plan, which was released in May.