How to Apply for New School Security Grants Before the July 30 Deadline

school security

The application process for new federal school security grants under the STOP School Violence Act is underway. The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP), which will provide $25 million grant assistance for security improvements in fiscal 2018. The purpose of the program is “to improve security at schools and on school grounds in the jurisdiction of the grantee through evidence-based school safety programs.”

There is a short window to apply for 2018 funds, as applications are due by July 30. Applications are to be submitted here on the DOJ's COPS program website.

Eligible as primary recipients are states, units of local government and Indian tribes.  School districts will need to partner with these organizations to apply for the federal grants, which are 24-month awards up to a maximum of $500,000 and require a local cash match of 25%.

Closely resembling the former Secure Our Schools program at DOJ, SVPP is expected to help schools implement emergency communications systems, video surveillance, campus access and classroom entrance control technology, fortified entrances, law enforcement training and other measures.

Allowable Uses

  • Acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency (this is a new emphasis in the program)
  • Coordination with local law enforcement
  • Placement and use of metal detectors, locks, lighting and other deterrent measures
  • Training for local law enforcement officers to “prevent student violence against others and self”
  • Any other measure that, in the determination of the director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, may provide a significant improvement in security

Allowable Costs (Highlights)

Equipment

  • Entry control
  • Intrusion alarm systems
  • Screening equipment
  • Security lighting

Other Technology

  • Two-way radios
  • Duress alarm systems
  • Emergency alerts/communication systems
  • Identification/visitor management
  • School facility mapping
  • Bus tracking/route mapping
  • Video surveillance technology

Additional Uses

  • Salary/benefits for coordination personnel (non-sworn, civilian)
  • Supplies
  • Travel/training
  • Consultant services

Non-Allowable Costs (Highlights)

  • Salary/benefits for sworn personnel
  • Security guards
  • Armored or weaponized vehicles
  • Bulletproof vests
  • Firearms/related training
  • Radar guns
  • Tasers
  • Animals

Applicants are required to use “evidence-based” programs and processes, which for technology and equipment means it must be “consistent with best practices for school security.” This allows grant applicants can rely upon the significant and growing body of work on school security best practices to validate technology and equipment needs. These have been identified in part through public commissions and task forces throughout the country established to provide recommendations, formulate guidelines and set standards for school security.

Key Security Best Practices Resources for Grant Applicants

More information on state-level school security programs, recommendations and standards is available from the Secure Schools Alliance at secureschoolresources.org.

While many states have yet to establish specific school facility security requirements, most common are:

  • Restricted visitor access and sign-in
  • Exterior access controls
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
  • Two-way communications in classrooms and other areas
  • Interior access controls/locks
  • Panic/emergency notification systems
  • Electronic surveillance
  • Bullet/blast resistant materials
  • Staff and student IDs and access management

Learn more and apply for this year's SVPP here.

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