PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – Governor Kristi Noem today announced that South Dakota received three grants totaling almost $2 million to help South Dakota school districts prevent and address threats of violence.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) received the grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s STOP School Violence Program. The program is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Our number one priority is the safety of the next generation,” said Noem. “These grants will be incredibly beneficial in our schools and better equip us to provide resources and training in the areas of violence prevention and threat recognition. While we hope our schools never experience violence, it is important we equip them with the resources they need to enhance safety and prepare teachers and students to recognize potential threats.”
There are three different grants:
- $998,000 – This grant will allow the state to establish a School Safety Resource Center. The center can help distribute best practices for school safety, requests for training for threat recognition, training in establishment of threat adjudication teams, and requests for physical security assessments for K-12 school building.
- $500,000 – This grant will focus on establishing prevention and mental health training programs in conjunction with mental health professionals.
- $500,000 – This grant will focus on technology and threat assessment solutions for safe schools programs.
DPS Cabinet Secretary Craig Price said the programs will be administered by the state Office of Homeland Security and new staff members will be hired to oversee the programs. He said implementation of the grants will start soon.
“Our goal is to provide the tools for K-12 schools to implement preventive measures in their districts,” said Price. “These grants will help schools not only in the areas of threat recognition, but also working with schools to implement a wholesale approach to school safety.”
The grant money cannot be used to purchase weapons, equipment, or fund salaries for School Resource Officers.
South Dakota agencies that supported DPS with submitting the state’s grant proposal included the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, SD Attorney General’s Office’s Division of Criminal Investigation; SD Department of Social Services’ Division of Behavioral Health, SD Department of Education, Associated School Boards of South Dakota, School Administrators of South Dakota, SD Parent Teacher’s Association, SD Association of School Resource Officers, SD Sheriff’s Association, SD Police Chiefs Association and Vermillion Police Department.