DuPage County students and school personnel will have the opportunity to receive training focused on school violence prevention as a result of a federal grant and county funding.
The DuPage Regional Office of Education has been awarded a three-year $400,000 Students Teachers Officers Preventing grant by the Bureau of Justice Assistance to initiate a countywide mental health training program, according to a DuPage County news release. As a condition of the grant award, the county will provide matching funding of $133,000.
The multi-tiered training and student-support program will provide mental health education and include focused training to address the needs of students exhibiting troubling signs of adverse childhood experiences or trauma, the release stated.
Last spring, the Regional Office of Education conducted eight focus groups that included 320 school administrators, teachers, deans, counselors, school resource officers, high school students, community members and parents to discuss mental health and safety issues in DuPage County schools, according to the release.
The focus group data was brought to the DuPage County School Safety Task Force, which was formed in 1999 shortly after the tragedy at Columbine High School. The Safety Task Force, comprised of school, police, fire, homeland security, FBI and government representatives, meets every two years and makes recommendations based on current data and best practices.
Work focused on developing a model policy and providing behavioral threat assessment is underway in DuPage County, and the grant will address and fund the need for additional mental health training.