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Arizona receives $2.5M in federal grants to prevent school violence

(Getty Images Photo/Tim Boyle)

PHOENIX — Two Arizona school districts and the state’s executive office have been awarded more than $2.5 million in federal grants to help prevent school violence.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday it gave more than $85 million to school districts, agencies and other groups across the country and Puerto Rico.

Tempe Union High School District was awarded nearly $500,000 that will go toward a program that puts a crisis intervention specialist in each school, district spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer said.

“They’re there to provide that specialized crisis response for teens,” Liewer told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“They hold groups in the afternoon that teens can go to and … have a group discussion about issues that they’re facing.”

The district was also awarded nearly $491,000 that Liewer said will go toward new locks that teachers will be able to secure from inside classrooms.

“Most of our doors lock from the outside, and therefore, in an emergency, a teacher would have to open the door to their classroom to lock their door,” she said.

She said the school’s push-bar emergency doors will also be renovated.

The Tucson Unified School District received $525,000 that can go toward training for law enforcement officers, an expedited police notification system and deterrents, including metal detectors and locks.

The executive office of Arizona received more than $997,000 for school personnel and student training regarding mental health crises.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation in May that requires all of the state’s school faculty to complete suicide prevention training.

“These federal resources will help to prevent school violence and give our students the support they need to learn, grow, and thrive,” U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr said in a press release.

“By training faculty, students and first responders, and by improving school security measures, we can make schools and their communities safer.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore contributed to this report. 

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