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Beyond gun control: Will Obama's plans make schools safer? (+video)

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Other proposals in the president’s package that would touch schools directly include:

  • Training for 14,000 law enforcement officers and school officials in how to handle active-shooter situations.
  • Comprehensive School Safety grants – schools that receive a portion of the $150 million mentioned above for resource officers or counselors could also use part of the money for buying safety equipment, conducting threat assessments, and training crisis-intervention teams.
  • A requirement that schools receiving federal funding for safety develop and practice emergency plans. While 84 percent of schools had a written response plan for a shooting in 2010, only 52 percent had drilled their students in the past year, according to the White House. This spring, a set of model plans will be made available, and $30 million in grants is proposed to help districts develop their own plans.
  • $50 million to fund 8,000 school plans to create safer and more nurturing climates through evidence-based practices to reduce bullying and other problematic behaviors.
  • “Mental health first aid” training for teachers – $15 million to help educators and others who work with youths to detect signs of mental illness.
  • $40 million to help school officials work with law enforcement and mental-health agencies to ensure that students with problems are referred to get the help they need.
  • $25 million for state-based strategies to support 16- to 25-year-olds with mental-health or substance-abuse problems.
  • $25 million to help students traumatized by violence and to support conflict-resolution and other violence-prevention strategies.

“Our goals are simple: fewer children dying from gun violence and fewer children living in fear,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement Wednesday.

“Today, looking into the eyes of parents who have lost children due to gun violence, I am more committed than ever,” said Mr. Duncan, charged by the president to launch a national dialogue on mental health along with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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