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Virginia awarded more than $800K to support threat assessment in schools

Posted at 4:20 PM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 16:21:31-04

RICHMOND, Va. — The Commonwealth of Virginia has been awarded more than $800,000 in federal funding to support threat assessment in schools.

In an announcement Tuesday, Governor Ralph Northam announced that $869,508 has been granted to the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety to help improve school security.

The funding will be used to assist school divisions in developing and sustaining threat assessment teams, which help identify students with concerning behavioral patterns before they turn violent.

“This funding will help Virginia continue to support our youth and ensure the safety and welfare of students and staff in our schools, building upon the excellent foundation we have here in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Northam.

Virginia is one of eight states to receive more than $650,000 from the grant.

Earlier this year, CBS 6 investigative reporter Melissa Hipolit reported on problems related to school threat assessment teams and how not enough teachers were trained.

The 2017 Virginia school safety survey, conducted by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, showed that those teams are composed mostly of teachers, but the majority of teachers on the teams reported they had not been trained to assess threats.

Legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2013 required every school system to create threat assessment teams to identify threats and intervene before any danger materializes.

Virginia became the first state in the nation to do so.

State officials said the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety will use the grant to expand training opportunities and improve the efficacy and efficiency of threat assessment data collection.

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