REGION—Wayne County school districts, received over $127,000 in grant funding through The School Safety and Security Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).
“We are very excited about the grant,” explained Wayne Highlands School District (WHSD) Superintendent Gregory Frigoletto.
WHSD received $32,640 to supplement the costs of school psychologist and mental health services in Honesdale High School.
“It's a great resource for our students, school and community,” said Frigoletto. “We felt what we applied for was worth it and we got lucky.”
Dr. Matthew Barrett, Superintendent of Western Wayne School District (WWSD) noted he and the district were “surprised” and “very grateful” to have received the funding.
WWSD received $13,420 from the safety and security grant, looking to use the funds to supplement positive behavioral support programming, Tact2 de-escalation trainings, school psychologist costs, and upgrade the security camera system across the district.
“We realized there would be a tremendous amount of requests, so we kept it targeted and specific to mental health needs and security concerns,” said Barrett.
Wallenpaupack Area School District received $42,510 and Forest City Regional School District received $38,707.
“As a father and legislator, I am happy to see that many of our area schools can benefit from these grants,” said Representative Jonathan Fritz (R-111th, Wayne, Susquehanna) in a press release. “School safety is a major concern. It is great to see that our local school officials now have additional funds to help protect and safeguard students.”
“We rely on our local schools to be a safe place for our children as they receive an education,” said Representative Mike Peifer (R-139th, Wayne, Pike) in a release. “With these funds, our schools can improve and maintain that sense of safety and protection and keep the parents and staff’s mind at ease.”
These grants are part of $40 million released to 234 schools statewide for increased safety measures and $7.5 million released to 25 community entities for violence prevention methods.
Funded through Act 44 of 2018, school districts, intermediate units, area vocational-technical schools, charter schools, and private residential rehabilitation institutions could apply for up to $6 million for myriad activities.
These include: performing safety assessments, purchasing security-related technology and equipment, support safety-related and behavioral-health trainings, preparing all-hazards plans, hire personnel (school resource officers, school police officers, school counselors, social workers and school psychologists), provide trauma-informed care.
According to a release from Governor Tom Wolf, 75 percent of those awarded grant money requested funding for security planning and security-related technology.
Other popular requests included funds for trauma-related educational approaches, the development of hazard plans, numerous trainings, counseling services, and other activities.
This is a second, competitive round of funding issued through The School Safety and Security Committee. Districts received $25,000 each in November to put towards safety protocols.
In terms of the $7.5 million in community violence prevention funding, all 25 applicants received up to $350,000 for two-year projects, much of which related to trauma-informed support services and helping those who have dealt with past traumas.
“These grants are the mechanism we need to create local strategies that will increase safety for our children and our teachers and prevent violence in classrooms and communities across the commonwealth,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a release. “Schools should be safe, secure places for our children to focus on their education and on preparing themselves for a lifetime of success, not another place we need to worry about sending our children. Awarding these grants to more than 200 schools means a safer Pennsylvania.”
—Information from a release was used in this story.