BALTIMORE – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Congressman Steny Hoyer (all D-Md.), today announced that St. Mary’s County Public Schools will receive nearly $190,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Education Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant program. Specifically, the grant will aid the ongoing recovery effort of students, faculty and staff of Great Mills High School after the tragic school shooting that took place in March.
“Incidents of school violence tear at my heart. The members of the Great Mills High School community need time and the right tools to help deal with the lasting, invisible scars that can rob the ability to focus on learning. The Project SERV funds announced today will help SMCPS fulfill the current and future mental health needs of those individuals,” said Senator Cardin.
“Recovering from tragedy takes time and support. These increased resources will help the community move forward and ensure students and teachers have access to the services they may need. As a parent, I know there’s nothing more important than knowing your child is safe. I will continue fighting in Congress to improve our school safety and meaningfully address gun violence,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Ensuring our students feel safe in their schools must be a top priority of lawmakers in Congress,” said Congressman Hoyer. “As our community continues to heal following March’s tragic shooting, I’m pleased that the Department of Education has awarded these funds to Great Mills High School as both students and faculty need mental health resources readily available. But Congress must be doing more to prevent gun violence in our schools. We must take meaningful action such as enacting commonsense background check laws and banning assault weapons, so that no student feels unsafe.”
The $189,202 grant announced today through the DOE Project SERV program will provide targeted support to help students, faculty, and staff feel safe at GMHS through the availability of evening and daytime counseling. Through partnerships with the St. Mary’s County Health Department and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, individuals will have access to the counseling support across the street from GMHS. As a part of the ongoing recovery efforts, SMCPS will provide additional training for school counselors and school psychologists through St. Mary’s County to assist individuals following this traumatic event. SMCPS also plans to utilize funds on hiring additional substitutes to allow staff to access supports and take time for recovery. To help prevent future tragedies, SMCPS will utilize funds to hire additional Safety Assistants to secure SMCPS school buildings.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Project SERV funds short-term and long-term education-related services for local educational agencies and institutions of higher education to help them recover from a violent or traumatic event in which the learning environment has been disrupted.