- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2018

The Department of Justice will provide an additional $25 million in grant money to train teachers and improve reporting systems for threats of school violence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday.

The new funds will be added to the $50 million in federal grants the Justice Department made available to schools in March after the deadly Marjorie Stonemason Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Mr. Sessions made the announcement at a meeting of the National Association of School Resources Officers in Las Vegas.

“I believe that this funding is going to make you more effective — and that will make the children of this country safer,” Mr. Sessions told the crowd.

Schools can apply for the grants under The Student, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018. Passed by both houses of Congress in March, President Trump has signed it into law.

The bill authorizes federal grant money for training and other initiatives to enhance school safety. Funds can also be used for physical improvements such as metal detectors, stronger locks and emergency notification technology.

“President Trump is the strongest supporter of school resource officers that has ever sat in the Oval Office,” Mr. Sessions said. “This administration understands and values the safety that you provide for our children. These grants will serve both safety and peace of mind.”

School resource officers have been at the center of the debate on how to keep students safe.

In March, a school resource officer exchanged gunfire with a 17-year-old student at a southern Maryland high school. Authorities have credited the resource officer, Blaine Gaskell, with preventing a worse attack.

But while Mr. Gaskell was lauded, Marjoie Stoneman Douglas resource officer Scott Peterson was publicly vilified after a security video showed him standing outside the school while a massacre was unfolding indoors. All told, 14 students and three teachers were killed at the hands of alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz.

President Trump labeled Mr. Peterson a coward who “did a poor job.”

Mr. Sessions praised the school resources officers, calling them “unsung heroes.”

“Thank you for committing your lives to this difficult, but noble work of protecting the most innocent and most vulnerable among us — the children of this country,” he said.

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