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GaDOE awards $3.1 million to rural districts for school safety improvements

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, 
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The list of awardees is available at this link
November 4, 2022 – The Georgia Department of Education is awarding $3,191,225 to 66 rural school districts for improving school safety practices and infrastructure, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced today.  

At its November meeting, the State Board of Education approved Superintendent Woods' recommendation to award School Safety Improvement Grants of up to $50,000 per district to improve COVID-19-related school safety practices and infrastructure. The 66 rural district awardees may use the grant funds to purchase items, materials, or services that align with their school safety plans and meet all ESSER fund requirements and guidelines. The districts must also demonstrate a partnership with local law enforcement or emergency management agencies. 

“Student safety remains the top priority for the Georgia Department of Education and schools across the state," Superintendent Woods said. “These grants support rural schools improving school safety practices and infrastructure and ensure we continue to do everything within our power to protect our students." 

Earlier this year, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) launched the Georgia Center for School Safety, a website clearinghouse to distribute school safety resources and updated training to Georgia schools and community partners.  

About School Safety in Georgia 

Every public school in Georgia is required to have a school safety plan and to conduct drills on that plan. Plans address school violence prevention training, mental health awareness, school security measures, partnerships with public safety officials, and more. They are developed in coordination with local law enforcement and the local juvenile court system and approved by the local emergency management and law enforcement agencies. GaDOE and GEMA/HS provide support and training as districts develop their school safety plans. 

The state has continued to invest in funding for school security investments, including $69 million in school security grants to every K-12 public school in 2019. Additionally, many safety expenditures are allowable uses of federal ESSER funding. 

Each year, GaDOE and GEMA/HS host the Georgia School Safety & Homeland Security Conference, which provides training and resources for teachers, school administrators, school counselors, school resources officers, public safety personnel, law enforcement, and emergency management personnel. 

GaDOE also offers Mental Health Awareness Training to all educators in Georgia and is currently expanding offerings to include training for students and families/communities.​