Governor Kate Brown Announces Steps To Make Oregon’s Schools Safer

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor Kate Brown Thursday announced steps to make schools safer.

She’s taking $3.3 million dollars from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) to support initiatives that improve mental health, suicide prevention, and school culture and climate.

“Oregon schools should be safe, welcoming, and inclusive places for every student who walks through their doors,” said Governor Brown. “Every student in Oregon deserves to be safe from gun violence. Every parent should be able to send their child to school knowing they will come home safe. Every teacher and school employee should be able to go to work without fear for their safety or that of the students under their care.”

As part of that money, 19 full time School Safety And Prevention Specialists will be funded. 

These specialists will work on initiatives across the state.

These initiatives include: an integrated model of mental health with guidance to support centering mental health, collaboration with OHA on Strengthening Mental Health in Education project, and supporting the implementation of “Every Student Belongs” to address threats to school safety related to biased or discriminatory behavior.

“Taking steps to ensure schools are welcoming and inclusive to all is key to making them safe places for students to learn and educators to teach,” said ODE Director Colt Gill. “Through Governor Brown’s investment and this federal funding Oregon can amplify its efforts to make sure every person on school grounds feels included, cared for and ready to learn or teach.”

Today’s news comes after the Federal Government on Wednesday announced an over $8 million dollar grant to make Oregon’s schools safer and healthier. 

The money will be used to provide all students with safe and supportive learning opportunities and environments.

“We have years of evidence that demonstrate the value of building safe and supportive schools. These efforts improve academic achievement, promote emotional well-being, reduce disciplinary actions, and increase positive behaviors,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Safe and supportive schools help our children and youth overcome challenges and provide a strong foundation for school safety. These grants will provide real benefits to real students in real schools.”

Through this program, $1 billion dollars has been awarded to schools nationwide.

Here’s more from the U.S. Department of Education:

As part of the Department’s announcement, Secretary Cardona sent chief state school officers a Dear Colleague Letter outlining three principles that SEAs are strongly encouraged to consider when designing a competitive grant competition and providing LEAs with direction for how they use these funds: (1) Implementing comprehensive, evidence-based strategies that meet student social, emotional, and mental well-being needs; create positive, inclusive, and supportive school environments; and increase access to place-based interventions and services (2) Engaging students, families, educators, staff, and community organizations in the selection and implementation of strategies and interventions to create safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environments (3) Designing and implementing policies and practices that are responsive to underserved students, protect student rights, and demonstrate respect for student dignity and potential. These policies are consistent with the Administration’s previous position on these issues.

Allocations for Southwest and Western regions:

Alaska $4,833,025
Arizona $20,826,927
Arkansas $9,378,149
California $119,828,943
Colorado $9,356,572
Hawaii $4,833,025
Idaho $4,833,025
Louisiana $21,279,385
Montana $4,833,025
Nevada $8,866,003
New Mexico $7,684,976
Oklahoma $11,776,526
Oregon $8,265,004
Texas $93,985,252
Utah $5,100,063
Washington $15,795,771
Wyoming $4,833,025

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