|Ed. Dept. publishes Stronger Connections grant program draft|
The U.S. Department of Education has published a draft FAQ in regard to the $1bn Stronger Connections grant program, which will be distributed through Title IV, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Schools should take a comprehensive approach to the prevention of violence that includes not only improved safety measures but meets students’ physical, social, emotional, mental health and academic needs, the document asserts. Recommended activities under the grant, which is part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, include reducing exclusionary discipline, hiring behavior specialists, and implementing anti-bullying practices. The guidance also suggests that if a school community decides to employ school resource officers, it should have a comprehensive process for hiring, training and program evaluation. The 36-page draft document details allowable activities for supporting student mental wellness, helping pre-schoolers, meeting the individual needs of students with disabilities, and responding to incidents of hate, as well as for purchasing and using security equipment like surveillance cameras and metal detectors. Other factors to be considered in awarding grants include the need for mental health staff. The Education Department is accepting feedback on the FAQ document, which when final will be non-regulatory guidance, through December 19.