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Homeland Security Office awards $250,000 in School Security Grants
Oklahoma City, OKLA., Ten public school districts from across the state have each been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS) to help improve security measures at schools in their district. This is the second grant program through OKOHS to provide U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding to secondary schools.
“Protecting Oklahoma’s future is very important to our office,” said Kerry Pettingill, Oklahoma Homeland Security Director. “Budgets are tight for schools across our state and administrators have to prioritize their needs. We know that a safe environment will only serve to promote the learning process which is why we have created the Education Grant Program.”
Funding will be used to purchase security equipment such as cameras, fencing, and badging systems for the recipient school districts which are: Idabel, Twin Hills, Berryhill, Hominy, Bartlesville, Bridge Creek, Edmond, Mangum, Chisholm and Wilson.
The 2008 Education Grant Program had several requirements for applicant school districts. First, districts were required to send a law-enforcement representative and a school administrator to a two-day training during which they were instructed on how to thoroughly assess the security gaps in their respective schools. Then each applying district had to conduct a security assessment which was reviewed by a “peer review panel” to determine the 10 grant recipients.
“This has been an opportunity for schools from all over the state to get engaged in the process of better protecting their students,” said Pettingill. “We realize $250,000 is not enough funding to protect every school in our state. But, ideally the training the districts received and the new relationships formed with local law enforcement will better prepare school officials to prioritize security needs.”
OKOHS was the first in the country to use DHS grant funding for school security at the secondary level. In 2006, five elementary schools each received $10,000 grants to improve security at their schools. More than 130 schools participated in the pilot grant program. Based on the success of the first program, OKOHS created the 2008 Education Grant program to provide $250,000 for K-12 schools.
For more information, contact Brook Arbeitman in the OKOHS at (405) 425-7293.
The Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS) is the State Administering Agency (SAA) for U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding. To date, the State of Oklahoma has been awarded more than $171 million in DHS grant funding.
State of Oklahoma
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