Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $859,294)
The Sandy Hook Promise Foundation (SHP) and the Dallas TX Independent School District (Dallas ISD) request funding, under Category 2 – Train school personnel and educate students on preventing school violence, to implement SHP’s Say Something Anonymous Reporting System school violence prevention program.
The Dallas Independent School District is situated in the heart of a large, diverse and dynamic region with a metropolitan population of 6.5 million people in 12 counties in North Texas. Dallas ISD comprises the second-largest public school system in the state of Texas, and the 14th largest in the nation with a population of more than 153,000 students. Dallas has seen significant increase in youth mental health concerns. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, school closures, and transition from in-person to virtual and back to in-person learning, youth across the nation continue to struggle with mental health issues.
The American Psychological Association (APA, 2022) contends children in America are in a mental health crisis. They suggest one in five students (20%) suffer from mental health concerns that need to be addressed. For Dallas ISD, this means more than 30,000 students may suffer from grief, loss, trauma, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and other mental health concerns. This, coupled with risk factors of isolation, school violence, and bullying, and exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19, Dallas youth are in dire need of services that work.
Addressing the problem requires a continuum of supports involving a whole community – students, educators, administrators, parents, and districts – approach. SHP and Dallas ISD understand the importance of teaching youth and adults how to identify and report warning signs that someone might need more direct and urgent support for their mental and physical safety. As such, SHP and the Dallas ISD request grant funding to provide Say Something student trainings, adult user trainings, SAVE Promise Clubs engagements, and other professionally tailored wrap-around supports to enhance the implementation and sustainability of Dallas’ anonymous reporting system. Supporting the Say Something ARS project gives Dallas Independent School District a means by which students are protected and can safely express their thoughts and feelings in a meaningful way.