LA PLATA, Md. (January 17, 2019)—The Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Office of Safety and Security was recently awarded a grant to enhance initiatives the office has set forth this school year. The $374,576 grant from the Maryland Center for School Safety will fund several projects — the bulk of which being the expansion of an existing mental health program from two to all seven CCPS high schools.
High school students may be the most at-risk student population to display unsafe behavior inside and outside of school, said Mike Blanchard, supervising school psychologist for CCPS. "It is important to note that the risk of violence in school is significantly lower than what students may experience outside of school," he said. "However, in the rare instances where there have been risks identified for violent acts in school, providing mental health supports to students is one of the main prevention tools to keep these behaviors from occurring."
The four phases of emergency management are prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, said Jason Stoddard, director of CCPS safety and security. "This grant will enhance the school system's security posture overall," he added.
The grant money is funding the student identification card program and broadening Restorative Practices to more staff members. Restorative Practices promotes positive communication and relationship building, said Dawn Schaeffer, coordinator of staff development.
Other projects that will benefit from the grant are the installation of cameras on 12 school buses, the design, marketing and printing of outreach materials, additional professional development for School Resource Officers (SRO), systemwide enhancements of crisis notification for all employees including itinerate staff and enhance staff identification badges.
The grant will also pay for the purchase of software that allows for public announcements from various locations in each school, and reimbursement to the Maryland State Police for school bus stop arms and overtime enforcement.
MCSS is a center focused on emergency management, bullying, substance abuse and mental health. The center was founded in 2013 to coordinate and provide a comprehensive policy for safety in Maryland schools.