The Santa Fe Independent School District near Houston will receive a $1 million federal grant to cope with the aftermath of a mass shooting that left ten educators and students dead earlier this month.
The grant will be financed through Project School Emergency Response to Violence, or SERV, which helps communities recover from significant, traumatic events. The district could use it to cover the cost of mental health and counseling services; overtime for teachers, counselors, and security staff; substitutes; and other expenses.
Project SERV grants have also been used in Newtown, Conn., after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, after unrest in Baltimore in 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray, and in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Broward County schools received a similar grant to help Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., recover from another massacre in February that resulted in the deaths of 17 students and educators.
DeVos and her team have been in contact with school and district officials to assess their needs, according to the department.
“No student, parent or educator should have to experience the trauma suffered by so many at Santa Fe High School and other schools throughout the country,” said Secretary DeVos. “This initial SERV grant will help to provide essential services that will aid in the healing and recovery process. Every day, the work of the Federal Commission on School Safety grows more urgent. We continue to focus on identifying proven ways to prevent violence and keep our students safe at school.”
The commission, which was tasked with making recommendations in the wake of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas, had its first “field hearing” Thursday, which focused on school climate. Gun control and arming teachers, an idea backed by President Donald Trump, was not discussed.
Photo: David J. Phillip for the Associated Press