The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has awarded over $20 million to harden the perimeters of K-12 schools across the state.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the LDOE’s Stronger Connections Grant program allocations to 39 traditional public and public charter systems. According to the LDOE, the funds will be used to keep students and teachers safe by reinforcing single points of entry.
“School safety is multifaceted and a way of life,” explained State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. “We are encouraged by the proposals submitted and pleased to bolster security measures at local campuses.”
The LDOE launched the Stronger Connections Grant program in March. After reviewing applications, BESE has approved a total of $20,215,845 for 39 Louisiana school systems. Each system will receive $518,355. Louisiana’s funding source is the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, which provides $1 billion in funding for states.
The LDOE said access control, such as a single-point of entry or locked entry points, is a school safety best practice broadly supported among experts. Projects may include surveillance cameras, metal detectors, or other physical security equipment or minor remodeling to enhance security at a single point of entry. The LDOE is also encouraging school systems to solicit feedback from educators, parents, and the community on school safety.
“The Stronger Connections Grant program provides direct assistance to school systems to make K-12 campuses more secure,” said Dr. Holly Boffy, president of BESE. “Now more than ever, systems must meet the challenge of reinforcing the security of their facilities, and the state’s allocation of federal dollars to strengthen school perimeters is a key piece of the solution to ensure a safe and secure environment for our students and school employees.”
This is the latest action taken by the LDOE to enhance school safety. The announcement came on the eve of the LDOE’s second annual Louisiana School Safety Summit. In August 2022, the LDOE hosted the inaugural Louisiana School Safety Summit. The event brought together around 800 educators and first responders to collaborate on keeping students safe.
In October 2022, the LDOE announced a partnership with Crimestoppers GNO to make it easier for students, educators, and families to prevent acts of violence at school through the use of an anonymous reporting app. In March, Crimestoppers GNO presented Dr. Brumley with the Award of Excellence in Student Safety & Prevention.