Special to the OBSERVER
Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES is moving forward with $ 1 million in grants to benefit school violence prevention.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) award supports two programs designed to prevent violence in schools. One program emphasizes mental health through social-emotional learning, youth mental health first aid and trauma-informed care. The second program aims to prevent and reduce school violence by expanding and improving the training and preparedness of school threat assessment and crisis response teams. The programs include the training of trainers programs, ensuring the sustainability of these school safety initiatives for years to come.
âIf the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything about stability, it’s the importance of having a safe and reliable learning environment that can meet the needs of all students. “ said John O’Connor, Ed.D., E2CCB Assistant Superintendent for Management Services. “With this grant, we will be able to equip our districts and BOCES with the tools necessary to provide this safe and stable learning environment.”
The new $ 1 million funding continues the work of two $ 250,000 BJA grants previously obtained by the regional cooperative grant service E2CCB, which has helped develop and implement safety-focused training and programs. at school. The aim of these programs is to prevent and reduce violence in schools by expanding and improving the training and preparation of schools in the service region of E2CCB. The new funding improves and expands the programs and teams developed over the past two years.
As part of the mental health program, the Educational Support Services Division of E2CCB will continue to train district staff in the areas of youth mental health first aid training before expanding to considerate care. trauma. Based on the first cycle of training, districts and participants shared the desire to expand the training to enable trainees to become the trainers. Thanks in part to this new funding, the second round will see the implementation of the Train the Trainer program and an expansion of the socio-emotional program to include a component on college bullying. Additionally, the grant will facilitate a contract with the Chautauqua County Mental Hygiene Department to offer an adult mental health first aid course.
Likewise, the Security and School Threat Assessment program will continue with workshops and trainings on threat assessment and crisis response. Participating districts that have identified school safety teams will continue to work using the school threat
Assessment Guidelines (STAG). To determine the best deployment, pace and timeline for the implementation and sustainability of the security assessment and response, E2CCB has partnered with Dewey G. Cornell and Navigate 360, partners of organizations. community, local law enforcement agencies and school districts. Additionally, this funding will help improve or provide functionality for anonymous reporting systems in participating districts.
âWhile we are extremely happy to have been able to secure over $ 1.5 million in grants over the past two years, which focus on safe schools initiatives, the ultimate goal is to ensure that knowledge acquired through the training offered go beyond the scope of the subsidy â, O’Connor said. âBy participating in the Train the Trainers program, we enable our district leaders to carry out this important task of identifying, preventing and dealing with mental health crises and threats facing our schools.