COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced he is awarding $12 million in grants to help enhance safety and security at schools across the state.
All of Ohio’s public schools, chartered nonpublic schools, and schools operated by county boards of developmental disabilities will receive the greater of $2,500 or $5.65 per student to spend toward school safety programs and training.
“Ohio’s students are entitled to feel safe when the school bell rings, and this funding will impact children by boosting safety measures at more than 1,700 schools across the state,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Schools will have the flexibility to use these grants for things like training for school resource officers, safety and security materials, and programs to identify and help students who may be struggling with their mental health.”
The grants are funded with appropriations made by the Ohio legislature as part of House Bill 318. The bill, which was sponsored by state representatives Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson), appointed the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to develop the school safety training grant program in consultation with the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
The law requires that participating schools and county boards work with law enforcement in their jurisdictions to determine the best use of the grant funding.
A full list of grant awards can be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. Attorney General DeWine mailed a letter to each school this week with instructions on how to access the funds for use between October 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019.
The letter also encourages schools to take advantage of two new school safety efforts recently launched by the Attorney General’s Office:
Active Shooter Response: This 25-part video series was produced by the Attorney General’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) to aid educators in preparing for and reacting to a potentially violent school incident, such as a school shooting. The brief videos are an update to the training offered by OPOTA beginning in 2013 that provided guidance to nearly 15,000 educators on how to intervene with students who could pose a danger and how to respond in a crisis situation.
Emergency Management Plan Aerial Photographs: Special agents with the Attorney General’s Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) are available to take free aerial photographs of school buildings for inclusion in school emergency management plans. BCI currently has six drones that are used primarily to document crime scenes and assist in missing persons cases, but BCI is offering to use its drones to take aerial photos of school campuses to help law enforcement plan for and respond to an emergency. School administrators, in coordination with local law enforcement, can request photographs by calling 855-BCI-OHIO or 855-224-6446.
Since taking office in 2011, Attorney General DeWine has taken several measures to enhance school safety across the state. In addition to training thousands of educators, Attorney General DeWine’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy has trained more than 14,000 law enforcement officers on preparing for and responding to active shooter threats.
DeWine also worked with schools across the state to achieve greater compliance on school safety plans and convened a School Safety Task Force that issued dozens of school safety recommendations. The task force recognized that mental health awareness was essential for schools to identify and intervene with students who may be at risk.