The United States Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Tennessee on Thursday announced Hamilton County Schools would receive a $266,314 grant under the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence Act (STOP) School Violence Act. The grant is a part of a more than $125 million nationwide program aimed to help keep schools safe.

“The Justice Department has no greater responsibility than protecting Americans from harm,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

The grants were awarded by the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) to help advance school safety. Safety measures under the STOP School Violence Act include implementing safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, supporting school violence prevention efforts, providing training to school personnel and students, and implementing evidence-based threat assessments.

Passed in 2018, the STOP School Violence Act authorizes the DOJ to direct taxpayer funds to “units of local government, Indian tribes, and public agencies (such as school districts and law enforcement agencies)” for the purpose of enhancing security on school grounds, as well as help students and teachers “recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence.”

Acting United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III said, “Hamilton County Schools will utilize this award to proactively address school violence by providing educators and students the resources and support they need to learn, grow, and thrive.”

The COPS Office funding accounts for 75 percent of the money to advance community policing nationwide. For schools, the money is used towards safety measures in and around public and secondary schools. Usually, the funding has to be used “for coordination with law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence; locks, lighting and other deterrent measures; technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency; and other measures that provide a significant improvement in security.”

The BJA said they collect data from those who utilize their funding so they can “[promote] ongoing analysis of a program’s performance, [create] the potential for continuous process improvement, and [rely] on performance measurement.”

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Morgan Nicole Veysey is a reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow her on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].