The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools has awarded Millard Public Schools in Omaha, Neb., an almost $50,000 Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant to assist with ongoing recovery efforts following the shooting of an assistant principal at Millard South High School and the subsequent suicide of the student who shot him.
Project SERV grants provide funding to school districts and institutions of higher education that have experienced a traumatic event and need resources to respond to the after effects and re-establish a safe learning environment. The Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools has awarded more than $27 million to 87 grantees, including Millard Public Schools, since the grants program began in 2001.
“When unfortunate events disrupt the lives of students and schools, it’s vital that the learning process continue,” said Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. “Project SERV provides districts and institutions of higher learning with resources to help respond in a timely manner.”
On the morning of Jan. 5, 2011, a male student was called to the office and questioned about property damage at the school. He was then suspended from school and escorted off school property. Later that day, the student returned to the school and made his way to the assistant principal’s office where he opened fire with a high-powered handgun. The assistant principal was killed. After fleeing the school, the student committed suicide.
Since the shooting, community mental health agencies have been working with the district to provide mental-health services to students. In addition, the district’s Employee Assistance Program has offered mental health support for district staff. While classes have resumed, the subject of the incident continues to consume class time. Parents and students have expressed concern about the level of safety and security within the school district.
To help address the heightened level of fear within the district, Millard Public Schools has requested Project SERV funding to help restore the learning environment through additional security services at each of the district’s four high schools.
To view a list of grantees and award amounts, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/dvppserv/index.html.