Education Dept. announces $1 million emergency grant for Broward County schools

Grace Carr, DCNF

The U.S. Department of Education announced it will give $1 million dollars to Broward County public schools in the wake of the tragic shooting  at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Students walk past one of seventeen crosses after a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

“My heart is broken for the students, teachers and families who have had to endure this unthinkable tragedy,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a Friday press release announcing the Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) grant. “I am committed to helping identify solutions to prevent another tragedy like this one from happening again.”

The $1,000,000 grant aims to provide services to help victims heal and recover at schools in the Broward County Public School system after 19-year-old gunman Nikolaus Cruz shot up Marjory Stoneman, leaving 17 people dead and 14 others injured.

The grant will provide support to “school districts and institutions of higher education that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to restore the learning environment for students and staff,” the press release states. Elements of support will include counselor and security staff, substitute teacher payment, mental health services and others.

“I have had the honor to meet several members of the Parkland community over the past days. The strength shown by these students, family members and educators is an inspiration to us all,” Secretary DeVos also said in the press release. DeVos hosted many of the students, parents and teachers affected by the Parkland tragedy to discuss ideas about how to make schools safer.

A memorial for Peter Wang, one of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, sits on a bandshell stage in a park in Parkland, Florida on February 16, 2018. (Photo credit: RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

The grant comes after the high school began a phased reopening process Monday, nearly two weeks after the Feb. 14 shooting. Teachers resumed their duties Monday, but students didn’t return to classes until Wednesday, according to The New York Times.

Upon returning, students took their parents into the school to show them where they hid from the shooter, and 17 memorials stand outside the school for the students and teachers who didn’t survive. “It actually felt good to be in the building,” Briana Valli, 17, told the NYT. “We’re all going through this together.”

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