Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
Rockland Board of Cooperative Educational Services (RBOCES) is applying under BJA's STOP School Violence Category 2 with the primary goal to prevent and reduce school violence, specifically in three of its center-based schools that serve students with intensive social/emotional and behavioral needs who are at high-risk for violence to themselves and others. Rockland BOCES is located in Rockland County, NY in New York State's Lower Hudson Valley, approximately 25 miles north west of NYC. Rockland County is an urban/suburban mix with high rates of crime and poverty in a number of its cities. Rockland County has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and at one point had one of the highest infection rates in the nation, resulting in school closure, disruption, and trauma for students.
Through various trainings, the objective is to ensure access to evidence-based strategies, supports, and resources to effectively respond to and reduce school violence, address the needs of students who are impacted, create a school-wide culture of safety, and ensure a positive school climate. RBOCES’ comprehensive approach includes training in both selective school-based violence prevention strategies (targeting specific students identified as having experienced violence, antisocial and/or aggressive behavior) and universal school-based violence prevention strategies (implemented with all students in the classroom/school). A minimum of 200 unduplicated administrators, teachers, mental health professionals, and support staff will participate in the project. Training will focus on strategies that are trauma-informed, protect student privacy rights, and involve mental health professionals at all stages of training and practice. Training includes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for mental health clinicians working in RBOCES center-based schools; Mental Health First Aid for RBOCES support staff; Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence RULER training for school administrators, teachers, and mental health professionals; and, other violence prevention training as identified. Mental health clinicians trained in EMDR will work directly with students identified as high risk for violence. A unique component of RBOCES’ project is that it will work with Columbia University’s Teachers College to audit the social and emotional safety of its center-based schools and create an action plan with training to ensure that RBOCES' schools provide an environment that is engaging, inclusive, and safe for its students and staff. A Project Coordinator will be hired to support the successful implementation of the project components.