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Edwards announces $3.6 million grant for school safety

Gov. John Bel Edwards

BATON ROUGE – Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Dept. of Education in partnership with LSU and the Governor’s Blue Ribbon School Safety Commission has been awarded more than $3.6 million for the Grants to States for the School Emergency Management (GSEM) program.

This assists schools statewide with developing and expanding their emergency operations plans for disasters. The grant is through the U.S. Department of Education.  LDOE will work with LSU’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training/Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education (LSU- NCBRT/ACE) to provide schools with the necessary technical assistance, training and implementation of their disaster plans.

“It is imperative that we do everything possible to ensure the safety of our students, teachers and school faculty. This grant is going to help our schools develop high-quality plans to respond to a disaster whether natural or manmade,” said Gov. Edwards. “We’ve experienced a number of federally declared disasters over the past 13 years. Since Hurricane Katrina,  152 school districts (public, private and charter) have applied to the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for public assistance funds following those disasters. LSU’s NCBRT/ACE has an outstanding history of collaborating with national experts who contribute to the development, delivery, and research of effective emergency plans, and I applaud everyone involved in securing this important grant to help create safe and secure schools.”

The GSEM program provides grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) to increase their capacity of assist schools by providing training and technical assistance in the development and implementation of high-quality school emergency operations (EOP) plans.

“Every child, teacher and school worker in Louisiana deserves to feel safe in his or her learning or work environment,” said State Superintendent John White. “This grant will help ensure this is possible by providing schools with world-class response training, by encouraging collaboration among local school and emergency response leaders, and by supporting the development and implementation of updated, high-quality school emergency response plans.”

The grant allocations will be distributed over five years:

  • Year 1 Total Costs: $749,925
  • Year 2 Total Costs: $749,223
  • Year 3 Total Costs: $749,305
  • Year 4 Total Costs: $749,743
  • Year 5 Total Costs: $661,002
  • Grand Total: $3,659,198

“It is with great pleasure that LSU NCBRT/Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education was able to collaborate with the Governor’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Education on this grant application,” said LSU-NCBRT/ACE Director Jeff Mayne. “Working together to better protect our children, teachers and school workers is vital. Louisiana is very fortunate in being awarded this grant to advance the capabilities of our state and local school districts emergency operations plans.  LSU NCBRT/ACE looks forward to working with school districts across the state over the next five years by conducting training and exercises to enhance emergency operations plans.”

LSU-NCBRT/ACE is a nationally recognized center for emergency preparedness and response training located at Louisiana State University’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We provide mobile training to both the national and international emergency response community. Together with our stakeholders, we challenge ourselves each day to influence human safety, security, and resilience in a positive manner.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.