As part of the Biden-Harris Administration's efforts to prevent and reduce gun crime and other forms of community violence, today the U.S. Department of Education released the Notice of Proposed Priorities, definition, and requirements for its Project Prevent discretionary grant program and launched the 30-day public comment period. The proposed priorities emphasize the importance and efficacy of a coordinated effort between schools and community-based organizations (e.g., local civic or community-service organizations, local faith-based organizations, or local foundations or non-profit organizations) to help prevent and reduce gun crime and other forms of community violence and mitigate the short- and long-term effects this violence has on students. The notice is intended to encourage effective implementation of community- and school-based strategies through proposed priorities that:
- Support local educational agencies (LEAs) in offering mental health services to students impacted by community violence;
- Support LEAs in the implementation of conflict management programs; and
- Support LEAs in implementing other community- and school-based strategies to help their students break cycles of generational violence and to mitigate the impacts of exposure to community violence.
"Supporting the healthy growth and development of our children, youth, and families takes the effort of whole communities working together. And when we leverage resources in both communities and in schools, students and families have the opportunity to receive a fuller spectrum of supports that can help them on a path to thriving lives," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "At the core of the Project Prevent program is a recognition that when our children, youth, and families succeed, our communities and our country succeed."
The President's FY22 budget calls for $10 million in new funding for the Project Prevent grant program to support community violence intervention strategies, complementing the Biden-Harris Administration's call for a historic $5 billion investment in community violence interventions. This $10 million Project Prevent grant request would expand the capacity of LEAs to implement community- and school-based strategies to help prevent gun crime and other community violence, and to mitigate the impacts of exposure to violence. Children and youth's exposure to community violence, whether as victims or witnesses, has long-term physical and emotional harms which can negatively impact educational and life outcomes. Programs facilitated in schools by counselors, mental health providers, and community leaders for students who have been exposed to or are at high risk of involvement in community violence have been shown to help students develop the social and emotional resiliency and skills to break cycles of generational violence and trauma. When properly implemented and consistently funded and coordinated with agencies, such as public health or public safety agencies where appropriate, the use of community-based strategies can identify those at the highest risk, coordinate individualized support and resources, support victims by providing pathways to healing and stability, and monitor and support long-term success for children and youth in their communities.
The notice will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 28, 2022 and will include information and directions to submit comments about these priorities, the definition, and requirement. An unofficial version of the notice is available here: https://oese.ed.gov/offices/office-of-formula-grants/safe-supportive-schools/project-prevent-grant-program/.