Polk County Schools receives $300,000 grant to aid school safety, student mental health initiatives

Polk County Schools has received a safety grant of $300,000 from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Center for Safer Schools (CFSS).

The funding will be used for safety equipment, training and services for students in crisis. Safety equipment covered by this grant includes items such as cameras, vape detectors, radios and weapons detection systems. Training can include professional development for school leaders to assist students who are experiencing anxiety, trauma and/or conduct problems. Services made available through this grant can include school-based mental health services.

“We are thrilled to announce that Polk County Schools have been awarded a $300,000 grant through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s ‘Safe Schools’ initiative,” said Dr. Brandon Schweitzer, Director of Operations for Polk County Schools. “This funding marks a significant step in our ongoing commitment to the safety and well-being of our students. It enables us to enrich our schools with two full-time social workers, dedicated to offering crucial emotional and social support to our students. Additionally, the grant will facilitate vital physical security enhancements across several campuses, ensuring a safer, more secure learning environment.

“We are deeply grateful for this opportunity to further invest in the health and safety of our school community, and we are excited about the positive impact this grant will have on our student’s educational experience.”

More than 200 North Carolina school districts and charter schools received a total of $35 million in safety grants. CFSS Executive Director Karen W. Fairley said each application was thoroughly reviewed.

“It is part of the Center’s mandate and mission to give public-school units the tools they need to help keep their schools safer – that includes grant funding,” she said. “We thank the General Assembly for its generous appropriation that enables us to support North Carolina public schools.”

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said the need for school safety funding is crucial in ensuring students’ well-being throughout their educational journey.

“Nothing is more important than making our schools safer and more secure, and these grants will continue to play a vital role,” Truitt said. “This funding will help improve school security in many ways, including, updating technology and training to prevent future emergencies. I applaud state lawmakers for making this a priority and look forward to working with them to deliver more safety funding in the future.”

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