OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma education officials say students will be even safer after the state received over $1 million in federal grants.
On Thursday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced that the Oklahoma State Department of Education received three federal grants of more than $1.7 million in order to strengthen safety, security and mental health initiatives in public schools across Oklahoma.
“For students to learn, they must first feel safe,” said Hofmeister. “These grants will support violence prevention efforts in our schools. By working to keep schools safe, we are giving kids the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential in a positive learning environment.”
The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the education department $996,855 over the next three years to create and train a state crisis team. That team will be deployed during school emergencies and will provide guidance to schools on identifying students who may need additional behavioral health support or mental health interventions.
In another grant, the agency received $498,915 to hire a full-time anti-bullying program specialist to implement prevention and intervention strategies and support Oklahoma parents whose children have been the victims of bullying.
The DOJ also gave the Oklahoma State Education Department $250,000 over the next three years to implement a mobile phone app that will allow for real-time anonymous reporting of violence and threats.
“In order for students to flourish, they must be able to focus on their studies without the threat of aggression or violence,” said Hofmeister. “If students don’t feel comfortable going to school, they may put their academic future at risk. We must do everything in our power to ensure student safety and are grateful for the opportunities these grants provide.”