The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools has awarded the Marin County Office of Education in San Rafael, Calif. a $48,900 Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant to help with ongoing recovery efforts following tragic events that took place since the beginning of the school year, including an automobile accident, a gang-related stabbing and two youth suicides in the Marin County school community.
Marin County is a suburban community located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The county’s Office of Education serves 19 public school districts and 29,700 students. The school district requested funding to help restore the learning environment through additional support services for students, staff and parents. The district says hundreds of students have received crisis intervention services and grief counseling, and several staff members have contributed extensive work toward responding to the incidents.
To address the increase in student mental health needs, the district has proposed hiring additional counselors to conduct mental health assessments and grief counseling. The counselors will be placed at the schools most impacted by the recent deaths. The district also has requested funding to provide critical stress management debriefing for staff and offer parent education opportunities on the warning signs of suicide.
"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 school districts and institutions of higher education with resources to help support response efforts in a timely manner."
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. Since FY 2001, the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools has awarded more than $27 million to 84 grantees, including the most recent grant to Marin County.