by Photo courtesy of the Chula Vista Police Department

The Department of Justice announced on Thursday grant funding of over $1 million to two elementary school districts in San Diego County under the STOP School Violence Act. 

The Cajon Valley Union School District was awarded $672,168, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District received $347,031. The DOJ announced nearly $126 million in grants to schools nation-wide, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools. 

These funds will further support school violence prevention efforts, provide training to school personnel and students, and implement evidence-based threat assessments. According to Acting U.S Attorney Randy Grossman, this money will improve security at schools so children are safe.

“There is no higher priority,” Grossman said. 

The Justice Department was granted authority by the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018 to provide awards to improve security on school grounds through evidence-based school safety programs. It also helps to cultivate a positive school climate by helping students and teachers recognize, quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence. 

“The Justice Department has no greater responsibility than protecting Americans from harm,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Schools must be safe places to learn, and today’s investment of more than $125 million under the STOP School Violence Act will help ensure that they are.”

Chula Vista was one of 78 BJA annual award recipients of this program, totalling almost $74 million. The funds are intended to support training and education for school personnel and students on preventing violence against others and themselves. This includes anti-bullying training and specialized training for school officials to respond to mental health crises. Additionally, this funds development and implementation of multidisciplinary threat assessments or interventions. 

The COPS School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) provides up to 75 percent of the funding for school safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools. Cajon Valley is one of the 153 SVPP award recipients of this program, which totals almost $52 million. These funds are required to be used in coordination with law enforcement for training to prevent school violence, locks, lightning and other deterrent measures. This will additionally find technology for expedited emergency  notification, and other measures that provide a significant improvement in security. 

Members of the public can view the full list of SVPP award recipients, the list of BJA award as they are made on the OJP Grant Awards page, and information on the OJP and its components on their respective web pages. 

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