(The Center Square) – Ohio public and private schools can share nearly $7 million in taxpayer funds to increase classroom safety.
The $6.7 million appropriated by the General Assembly in this year’s budget goes through Attorney General Dave Yost and can be used for safety planning, training and classroom programs.
It’s available for public, private and charter schools, along with education service centers, STEM schools and schools operated by county boards of developmental disabilities.
“Safeguarding and preparing our schools for the future is a shared responsibility,” Yost said. “We want to help invest in the tools and technologies that prioritize the future safety of students and educators.”
Every school district is eligible for a grant of $2,500 or $4.50 per student, whichever is greater, until the funds are gone. The money will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Yost said the grants are intended to give school leaders flexibility in determining how best to improve student safety. They can be used for things such as:
• Certification training for school resource officers.
• Active-shooter response training or equipment.
• Educational resources for all grade levels.
• Training to identify and assist students with mental health issues.
• School supplies or equipment related to safety or for implementing a school-safety plan.
• Any other training related to school safety.
The announcement comes at the same time the U.S. Department of Justice released a scathing report on the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, calling law enforcement response a failure.
The 610-page report details the multiple failures in the response to the shooting, including the breakdowns in leadership, decision-making, tactics, policy and training that contributed to those failures. While some of the first officers on the scene initially tried to engage the gunman, they retreated after being met with gunfire. After that, the law enforcement responders began treating the incident as a barricaded subject scenario rather than as an active shooter situation.