The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools has awarded the University of Alabama in Huntsville a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant, totaling more than $256,000, to assist with ongoing recovery efforts following a campus shooting that resulted in the death of three faculty members.
Project SERV grants provide funding to school districts and institutions of higher learning that have experienced a traumatic event and need resources to respond to the event and re-establish a safe learning environment. This fiscal year, the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools has awarded more than $1.4 million to 12 grantees, including the most recent grant to the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
"When unfortunate events disrupt the lives of students and schools, it's vital that the learning process continue. Project SERV provides districts and institutions of higher learning with resources to help respond in a timely manner," Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, says.
On Feb. 12, 2010, during a routine faculty meeting of the Biological Sciences Department, a faculty member stood abruptly and began shooting her colleagues. Three faculty members were killed within moments. Three other staff members were injured and rushed to the hospital, two with life-threatening injuries. University police arrived at the scene within minutes and the alleged shooter, a full-time assistant professor, was apprehended shortly after exiting the building. In the span of less then 20 minutes, the Biological Sciences Department was reduced by nearly half. The uninjured faculty members in the room, who witnessed the shooting, were traumatically affected.
The work of the Biological Sciences Department was significantly impacted by the shooting. With the murder of three professors, the absence of another who was critically injured, the removal of the faculty perpetrator, and the remaining faculty's witness of the shooting, the effects of the shooting are deeply felt. In addition to those who witnessed the incident, the shooting had a far-reaching impact across the university-an impact magnified by intense local and national media attention.
To help address the needs of students, faculty and staff at the university, school officials have requested and received Project SERV Immediate Services funding to help restore the learning environment.
Since FY 2001, the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools has awarded more than $27.7 million in Project SERV funding. To view a list of grantees and award amounts, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/dvppserv/index.html.