BUCKS COUNTY – October 12, 2022 – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced fourteen school entities in his district will receive a combined $4,103,231 in state funds to support programs related to student mental health and school safety. Senator Santarsiero has been advocating for this funding, in partnership with Sandy Hook Promise, to provide schools across the Commonwealth with the resources necessary to keep children safe and prevent acts of violence in school.
The awarded amounts are as follows:
- Bristol Borough School District: $240,422
- Bristol Township School District: $410,042
- Central Bucks School District: $721,540
- Council Rock School District: $510,470
- Morrisville Borough School District: $229,175
- New Hope-Solebury School District: $239,821
- Pennridge School District: $404,212
- Pennsbury School District: $507,549
- Bucks County Intermediate Unit 22: $140,000
- Bucks County Technical High School: $140,000
- Middle Bucks Institute of Technology: $140,000
- Upper Bucks County Technical School: $140,000
- Bucks County Montessori Charter School: $140,000
- Center for Student Learning Charter School at Pennsbury: $140,000
“This funding is critical to helping our schools implement programs to keep students safe and better equip teachers and students with the skills necessary to stop potential acts of violence or suicide,” said Senator Santarsiero. “The pressure on our students and teachers is greater now than ever before. Evidence-based programs to support the health and safety of those in our schools will help keep our schools safe and allow students to focus on what they are in school to do—learn and grow.”
Senator Santarsiero first announced the availability of $200 million in this year’s budget to address student mental health and school safety during an August 18th press conference in Lower Makefield Township where he was joined by Mark Barden, Founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit group based in Newtown, Connecticut, led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The program is based on Senator Santarsiero’s Senate Bill 1263, the Safety and Violence Education (SAVE) Students Act, which would require schools to implement at least one hour, or a standard class period, per year of suicide prevention training, violence prevention training, and social inclusion training to students in grades six through twelve. Sandy Hook Promise advocates across the country for this training to be mandatory.
“As a society, we have an obligation to support our children and keep them safe,” Senator Santarsiero said during the August event. “To do that, we must focus on mental health issues in our schools. Every district across the Commonwealth should be taking advantage of this funding and implementing evidence-based programs to effectively teach youth and adults how to prevent school violence, shootings, and other harmful acts.”
Senator Santarsiero emphasized that while this program funding is important, there is still work to be done.
“We really do need to have these programs across the Commonwealth, in every school. I’d like to see a uniform approach spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which is why passing SB 1263 is still important,” he said.
Additional information about the School Mental Health and Safety and Security Grant funds can be found at https://www.pccd.pa.gov/schoolsafety/.