CU Boulder Receives $2 Million Grant to Support Colorado K-12 Schools

The STOP School Violence grant funding will help schools implement anti-bullying programs and mental health resources to prevent violence.

CU Boulder Receives $2 Million Grant to Support Colorado K-12 Schools

(Photo: sharafmaksumov, Adobe Stock)

BOULDER, Colo. — The U.S. Bureau of Justice issued a $2 million grant to the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) to use for improving safety at Colorado K-12 schools.

The grant money will go toward helping 40 Colorado schools implement anti-bullying programs and mental health resources to stop violence before it occurs, according to a news release issued Monday. Establishing these initiatives will help schools with “tackling the social and cultural roots of violence, long before anyone gets hurt,” the group says.

U.S. school shootings have already reached a record single-year high in 2022, the announcement cites. As of Oct. 30, there have been 40 school shootings that killed 34 people and injured 88 others. Other types of violence are also on the rise, including bullying and youth gun violence. Mental health issues persist as we emerge from the pandemic and schools continue to be short-staffed.

“We’re hearing from many different schools and seasoned school safety practitioners that this is one of the hardest years they have ever experienced,” said CSPV Director Beverly Kingston. “These kids have missed a lot of school at really critical developmental times, and the mental health needs are unprecedented. Yet a lot of schools are having a hard time finding staff, much less worrying about school safety.”

The three-year grant, dubbed STOP School Violence, is the latest of $100 million worth of anti-violence grants the center has received since its inception 30 years ago. In recent months, the center received a $6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address youth community violence and a $1.2 million grant to improve education and awareness around violence on the CU Boulder campus.

The latest funding will help schools implement the Safe Communities Safe Schools (SCSS) program, a research-based initiative launched following the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, The Denver Post reports.

Under the program, students and staff are given surveys to determine the prevalence of bullying, depression, anxiety and mental health resources, and to evaluate the school’s system for reporting threats or concerns. Using those results, program administrators create plans, training, and technical assistance to implement at the respective schools. If a school is lacking staffing or resources to address school safety, the program helps figure out steps to move forward with the resources they have or ways to secure more money, CU said.

“We would never approach a school and say, ‘This is what you need to do’,” said Amanda Matthews, implementation manager for the program. “This is a collaborative effort where schools are in the driver’s seat.”

Using previous grants, CSPV has helped hundreds of schools implement SCSS and recently documented lessons learned from 46 of them in a research paper.

“Violence may be increasing but we have solutions,” Kingston said. “These projects are about us coming together to implement a comprehensive public health approach and to stand bigger than violence.”

Schools interested in applying for the latest funding are asked to do so here or by contacting Jody Witt, CSPV’s director of operations, at [email protected] or (303) 492-6404.

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family.

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