WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Representative Steny Hoyer (all D-Md.) applaud the recent award of more than $60,000 for the St. Mary’s County Board of Education through the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP). These funds are the latest federal commitment to supporting the community’s response to the March of 2018 shooting at Great Mills High School (GMHS). Just after the incident, the federal delegation announced $180,000 through the Department of Education Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) which helped to ensure access to well-trained mental health professionals for the community and to hire additional Safety Assistants. The new resources will be used to increase the physical security of schools in the county.
“GMHS students, faculty, and the greater community continue to grapple with the effects of last year’s tragedy. This funding will help to guard against similar incidents in the future and to increase the ability of students and educators to feel secure in schools,” said Senator Cardin. “However, they have also made clear their desire for commonsense gun control legislation and expanded access to mental health services. Those remain our ultimate goals.”
“No child should fear for their life when they head to school each morning. And yet school shootings are becoming all too common in our communities. We must do more. This funding will help Great Mills strengthen their school safety efforts, but we must also work to address the underlying issue of gun violence,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committees. “I will keep working to support the Great Mills community as they recover from this tragedy, and I will continue urging my colleagues in the Senate to take up the House-passed legislation and meaningfully address gun violence.”
“All students should feel safe in their school,” said Congressman Hoyer. “While this funding is important and will ensure Great Mills High School has access to resources to prevent future acts of gun violence, we must also focus on the importance of passing commonsense gun violence prevention legislation in Congress. The House has acted, and I continue to urge the Senate to take up H.R. 8, commonsense legislation to expand background checks and prevent gun violence in our communities. I will continue to work with my colleagues to address this issue and protect our communities.”
SVPP provides funding directly to states, units of local government, Indian tribes, and public agencies to be used to improve security at schools and on school grounds. Awards include funding for coordination with local law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent school violence against others and self; placement and use of metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures; acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency; and/or any other measure that may provide a significant improvement in security.