How the Stop School Violence Act is Impacting California’s Schools

In March 2018, Congress passed the STOP School Violence Act. An acronym for Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence, the Act focuses on using evidence-based data to stop school violence before it starts.

How will this Act affect schools in California? Specifically, schools can apply for a variety of grants that can help them and other schools fight against school violence.

Here, we’ll talk about how you could use a grant from the STOP School Violence Act to make a significant impact on your campus.

What is the STOP School Violence Act?

The STOP School Violence Act focuses on specific anti-violence measures in K-12 public schools. Specifically, it aims to reward preventative measures that make schools safer. Proposed by Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.), the Act passed with 407 bipartisan supporters and only ten detractors.

One of the reasons the Act has had such a wellspring of support is because of its immediate necessity. Schools around the country need to ramp up the safety of their campuses but don’t have the funds to do so.

Executive director and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools Michele Gay describes how important the STOP School Violence Act really is.

“Although school safety is a growing concern, our schools lack the resources and support to implement effective measures,” she says. “While federal assistance alone could never fully address these needs, we feel this bill could make a major impact, and it’s an important first step in ensuring the safety of our nation’s school communities.”

Grants Under the STOP School Violence Act

Each year, the STOP Act will award $50 million in grant money to school- or district-based initiatives that promote school safety. The types of projects covered by the Act are as follows:

  1. Programs that train teachers, students, and law enforcement to identify and stop potential threats.
  2. Projects that develop anonymous tip lines for students, faculty, or staff to report threats of violence. These can include reporting technology like apps, hotlines, or websites.
  3. Proposals that improve the safety of the campus infrastructure.

Projects that fall outside of this scope cannot be funded by the STOP School Violence Act.

Partnership with Sandy Hook Promise (SHP)

One of the most notable projects to come out of the STOP School Violence Act so far is a partnership between the California Department of Education and Sandy Hook Promise (SHP). Founded by parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting—the deadliest school shooting in history—SHP aims to make schools safer.

Project Cal-STOP will put on a series of mental health and school safety trainings for California middle and high schools. Students, staff, and teachers will learn strategies for identifying students struggling with mental health issues, which, in turn, can stop school violence.

The training initiatives were funded with a three-year, $1 million grant from the STOP School Violence Act. Schools, districts, or agencies can apply for funds to develop similar projects in their own communities.

ScholarChip Simplifies Data Collection

Like in Project Cal-STOP, many threats can be remedied if school staff, students, and law enforcement know what to look for. The first step in this understanding comes through implementing the more sophisticated behavior management strategy that ScholarChip’s Alternative Behavior Education (ABE) can provide.

One of the problems with behavior management plans is that they don’t track behavior over time. Not so with ABE. Students’ behavior is tracked across years and teachers to determine if they have repetitive negative habits.

Further, ABE actually provides interventions for students if they exhibit certain behaviors. Depending on the level of the student and the negative behavior, ABE will help teachers and staff replace students’ negative behaviors with healthier habits.

Specifically, Florence, South Carolina Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Wymbs says, “In December 2015 we had 379 administrative hearings; in 2016 we had 141. That’s a significant decrease—62 percent—which is attributable to our work with ABE.”

A plan to introduce ABE to your campus, along with other behavioral improvement plans, could be part of your application for STOP School Violence Act grant money.

Securing Your Campus with ScholarChip Solutions

Other types of projects covered under the STOP School Violence Act grant are those that focus on improving school infrastructure. ScholarChip has the tools that can help you make the buildings on your campus safer.

For instance, you could program your Smart ID cards to unlock certain doors only for those who should be accessing them at a specific time. Further, with ScholarChip, you can lock every door at a school, or even a whole district, with the push of a button. These measures can significantly improve the safety of your school infrastructure and may be able to be funded by STOP Act grant money.

Promoting School Safety

The STOP School Violence Act is a meaningful and far-reaching measure that could make real change in California schools. With ScholarChip, you can implement the kinds of rigorous practices and programs that grant funding requires. Together, we can help make California’s schools safer for all.

ScholarChip offers a solution called Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE). This innovative program enables school leaders to identify, monitor, and improve student behavior throughout a student’s career, while giving administrators and teachers powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and support decision-making tasks. ​The ScholarChip system incorporates the complete spectrum of behavior and integrates student rewards, interventions, and tracking with PowerSchool®, Infinite Campus, and other popular SIS platforms.

To learn how ScholarChip can help keep your schools safer and more secure learn more about the many solutions ScholarChip provides or to get free recommendations, contact our school safety specialists today!