South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Tuesday that the state's Department of Public Safety received nearly $2 million in grant funding from the federal government to protect schools from threats of violence.
The $1.998 million comes from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The BJA has a Stop School Violence program, which will supply the funding.
Grant funding includes $998,000 to establish a state school safety resource center, which will be available to distribute best practices for school safety, requests for training for threat recognition, requests for threat adjudication teams and handle requests for physical security assessments for K-12 school buildings. Separate grants of $500,000 each will go toward establishing mental health training programs, and for technology and threat assessment solutions for schools.
“Our number one priority is the safety of the next generation,” Noem said in a statement. “These grants will be incredibly beneficial in our schools and better equip us to provide resources and training in the areas of violence prevention and threat recognition. While we hope our schools never experience violence, it is important we equip them with the resources they need to enhance safety and prepare teachers and students to recognize potential threats.”
DPS Cabinet Secretary Craig Price said the programs will be administered by the state Office of Homeland Security and new staff members will be hired to oversee the programs.
Noem's office said implementation of the grants will start soon. The grant money cannot be used to purchase weapons, equipment, or fund salaries for school resource officers.