Schools team up to apply for NIJ grant

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grant would provide funding for resource officers, mental health services

School Districts in Barry County are applying for a grant from the National Institute of Justice to implement funding for the spring 2015 semester.

Exeter, Purdy, Shell Knob, Southwest and Wheaton schools hope to use the funding to provide each campus with a resource officer, as well as offer mental health services for students and their families.

The school resource officers will be responsible for providing security and crime prevention services. These officers will take action to deter criminal or delinquent activities.

If awarded, the grant will also be used to pay for mental health counseling for the students who do not qualify for Medicaid.

If the proposal is approved by the NIJ, the schools will hire a mental health worker to be shared among the campuses. Other funding will go toward student and family counseling through the Internet.

Kati Rose, who is authoring the grant proposal, said those in need of the services will speak to a counselor through online video software called TeleHealth.

"The system is similar to Skype," she said. "It's so expensive to get counselors for mental health services in the schools, and this in an efficient way to make sure students still receive face-to-face full service counseling and help."

Rose said Telehealth is the best way to get students and families in the community the help that they need in such a small area.

"We are in such a rural area that it's hard for students and their families to have access to counseling if they need it," she said. "This grant will help increase safety at the schools and, hopefully, increase perception of law enforcement while giving students access to professionals who can help them."

The NIJ grants are given for research, development and evaluation. The schools are applying for a "Developing Knowledge About What Works to Make Schools Safe" grant under the NIJ's Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The goal of the program is to gather research about how programs, personnel and activities contribute to school safety.

The deadline to submit the grant proposal is July 10, and the schools will find out if they have received the grant by the end of September. If awarded, the grant will fund programs to be implemented in Jan. 2015.

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