By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
More than $12 million in grants have been awarded to Ohio schools to improve safety.
All of Ohio’s public, chartered nonpublic, and schools operated by county boards of developmental disabilities will receive the greater of $2,500 or $5.65 per student to spend on school safety programs and training.
Bowling Green City School District will receive $16,627. Other schools in the city will receive $2,500 each, including Bowling Green Christian Academy, Montessori School, St. Aloysius, and Wood Lane School.
Schools will have the flexibility to use these grants for training for school resource officers, safety and security materials, and programs to identify and help students who may be struggling with their mental health.
Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said that school districts in the area haven’t received official word about the grants. However, Attorney General Mike DeWine sent out a press release on Friday listing the districts and the amount they would be receiving.
“If there is money for us, we will use it,” Scruci said Monday morning. “As a board, that’s what we’re committed to.”
Though the board will determine how the funding is spent, Scruci predicted it would be used either on safety training for staff or on installing more 3M film over glass doors at school buildings. The covering makes it more difficult for the glass to be broken enough to allow entry to a building.
“It creates an obstacle for an intruder for two and a half or three minutes,” Scruci said. “The delay allows time to get people to safety.”
The grants are funded with appropriations made by the Ohio legislature as part of House Bill 318. 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.
School district are also being encouraged to take advantage of two new school safety efforts recently launched by the Attorney General’s Office:
- Active Shooter Response: An Educator’s Guide: This 25-part video series was produced by the Attorney General’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy 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 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.