NNPS awarded STOP School Violence grant

Posted: November 17, 2020

Newport News Public Schools has been awarded a $647,167 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to promote safety in schools and the community.

The federal "STOP School Violence" grant program is designed to improve school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence. The Newport News plan will focus on training to recognize and address issues of mental health among students.

"This grant comes at an extremely timely moment when students are especially vulnerable to mental health challenges," said Superintendent George Parker, III, Ph.D.

"More than ever, we need resources to help identify and support students facing increasing stress brought on by a rapidly changing world, the pandemic, economic instability and related matters. Newport News Public Schools is committed to creating the safest environment possible, and this funding adds a powerful tool in this effort," he said.

Grant funding will provide professional development for NNPS staff to become mental health first-aid trainers; mental health first-aid training for teachers, staff, and students; substitute teachers to cover classrooms during training; materials for student-led mental health awareness campaigns; and a project manager to oversee the grant and reporting requirements.

Students will be recruited to develop and implement a campaign to raise awareness of mental health assistance resources for their peers.

Over the three-year grant program, NNPS expects to build staff expertise in responding to threats of violence, create safer schools, and reduce disorderly behavior offenses and chronic absenteeism by 30 percent.