Today today, the U.S. Department of Education continued the Biden-Harris Administration’s all-government response to the horrific mass shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School. The department disbursed the $1.5 million School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) grant to the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD). The prompt announcement of grant funds reflects the immediate and urgent requirements facing UCISD and comes in the wake of the Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s trip to the district on May 31, and June 1, 2022.
The Project SERV funds are authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and are available for initiatives that aid in restoring an atmosphere of safety and security for the school’s pupils, educators, as well as families, and that meet the requirements of those who are directly in the aftermath of the shooter’s shooting. These activities may include mental health care for students and staff and overtime compensation for counselors, teachers, as well as security staff. These activities could be offered during the summer as part of other summer programs.
Secretary Cardona started the emergency funding via an email addressed to the superintendent of the district that provides key guarantees regarding the federal funds. Following the incident that followed, Secretary Cardona as well as other Department staff members communicated with UCISD management and their Texas Education Agency colleagues and promised to assist in the recovery effort within the district and the community through a range of technical assistance, which includes direct contact with Department staff and other collaborators who have helped other communities to respond and recover from the effects of violence in schools.
“No community should suffer a loss like this by itself. When I was in Texas I observed the Uvalde community unite in meaningful and profound ways to help each other and all families of those who lost loved ones. And now, we can be there for those who have lost loved ones,” said Secretary Cardona. “In the days and hours since the tragic day, we have committed to providing Uvalde residents with any possible resource through the Department. Today’s announcement of the emergency funds is the first step in this process that is followed by assistance from a technical perspective and local assistance over the years to come.”
In its communication, the department with UCISD acknowledges that the community’s requirements and the challenges to restoring the learning environment could evolve in the future. Secretary Cardona said that his staff will be available to assist the district to adjust the terms of its Project SERV agreement to reflect the evolving requirements. While the funds are available for 12 months but the Department is ready to offer more assistance in the longer term if required.
The department’s readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Center helps to build the capacity for preparedness (including prevention and protection, mitigation, responses, and recovery efforts) of schools as well as schools, colleges, and communities that are their partners in the state, local and federal levels and serves as the main resource for information to school districts, schools and colleges to deal with emergencies. The National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments provides the latest information and technical assistance aimed at improving the school climate and conditions for learning.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s pledges to the Uvalde, community see the letter describing the disbursed funds as well as Secretary Cardona’s announcement immediately following the tragic events.
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