ASU Gets $2 Million Grant to Help Prevent Violence in Montgomery Schools
By Hazel Scott/ASU
Alabama State University has been selected for a major grant to help prevent violence in Montgomery Public Schools.
The three-year, $2 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance will be used to implement a program to help make local schools safer.
ASU’s provost, Dr. Carl S. Pettis, said he was prompted to apply for the grant based on alarming national statistics related to school violence.
According to an Education Week analysis, 24 school shootings have occurred this year across the United States. There have been 168 such shootings since 2018. Fifty-one school shootings with injuries or deaths were recorded last year, the most in a single year since Education Week began tracking such incidents in 2018. Alabama is ranked 13th in the nation with shootings this year.
Starting now in 2023, ASU will implement the Preventing School Violence in Montgomery Public Schools (ASU PSV-MPS) Program, a comprehensive project designed to provide training and violence prevention initiatives in MPS schools.
“This program provides a platform for students, teachers, and parents to work together to promote safe and secure learning environments. The program leverages modern technology to enhance the effectiveness of violence prevention strategies in schools,” said Pettis, who will serve as the principal investigator for the program.
The project will target five MPS elementary schools for comprehensive interventions to reduce school violence and improve school climates, while also providing districtwide training for School Resource Officers (SRO’s) and district-level staff training.
The five targeted schools are Brewbaker Intermediate, Chisholm Elementary, Dozier Elementary, Dannelly Elementary and Highland Garden Elementary.
“The program can be customized to meet the specific needs of the school and the implementation process which involves the school's security situation, security measures, policies, and procedures,” Pettis added.
The grant, Pettis noted, will enable ASU to provide the resources to support staff training for school personnel and to educate students on preventing school violence. ASU will provide materials for student education and caregiver education, implement five awareness campaigns a year and train student resource officers.
Assisting Pettis in this initiative is co-principal investigator Avionne Ruffin, program director.