The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is launching a program to fund single-points of entry on school campuses. The agency will direct $21 million through the upcoming Stronger Connections Grant program.
“We intend to use one-time funds to harden the perimeters of our schools,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “These funds will help support this foundational element of school safety.”
Louisiana’s funding source is the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, which provides $1 billion in funding for states. The Stronger Connections Grant program provides funding to school systems on a competitive basis to support school safety efforts.
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 construction renovations 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 application deadline for grants is April 3, and several school systems have expressed interest.
According to a local WFAB report, Superintendent of Assumption Parish Schools John Barthelemy said, “When you look at it, our facilities were built in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s without school safety in mind. It was more of a cosmetic. I think this grant will help us get closer to those single-point entries into our facilities.”
The LDOE noted other actions taken to help school systems keep students and educators safe. In October 2022, the department 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 August 2022, the LDOE also hosted the inaugural Louisiana School Safety Summit, which brought together around 800 educators and first responders to collaborate on keeping students safe.