Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)
Lincoln Public Schools proposes to use grant funds to meet the program’s goal of preventing and reducing school violence by training school personnel on threat assessment. The district already has a Threat Team assembled to respond to potential targeted threats in over 60 schools and programs; however, schools require training in order to understand, identify, and respond to potential targeted threats and to work most effectively with the Threat Team. A basic threat assessment training will be provided to all teachers and staff in all 25 secondary schools and programs, as well as a more advanced threat management training to smaller school-based teams of administrators, clinicians, and security personnel. Additional strategies will also better address the needs of subgroups of students. These include specialized training on adolescent development, trauma, de-escalation and behavior management for non-certified staff that assist with behavior and discipline; implementation of Wellness Recovery Action Plans for students returning from mental health treatment; and utilization of Hope Squads to increase resiliency and help seeking among students considering self-harm or suicide. The district’s Threat Team will also be sent to nationally recognized training in order to maintain their knowledge of best practices in the field. LPS works in partnership with the Lincoln Police Department and Blue Valley Behavioral Health to administer the Threat Team, and these partners all recognize the need for additional strategies to ensure safe school environments, including training and mental health supports. Lincoln Public Schools serves over 42,000 students in Lincoln, Nebraska. If awarded, this program has the potential to affect almost 22,000 students attending the 25 secondary schools and programs. It is anticipated that over 1,900 staff will be trained on basic threat assessment, 250 staff will be trained on advanced threat management, and 150 staff will be trained on adolescent development, trauma, de-escalation and behavior management. The primary outcome over the three-year period will be an increase in understanding of the threat assessment process and tools across all secondary teachers and staff, and an increase in referrals to the Threat Team. Reductions in violence-related suspension and expulsion, gang involvement, and suicide risk are also desired outcomes.