Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $915,651)
The Texas Education Service Center Region 15 (ESC15) is requesting Category 2 STOP School Violence funding to address the significant school safety and youth mental health concerns in Texas.
The ESC15 service area incorporates 45 school districts that serve more than 52,000 students across 18 counties in west-central Texas. For the proposed Texas School Safety Expansion Project (TSSEP), ESC15 is collaborating with ESC12 and will be offering a trauma-informed, healing-centered interventions to over 100,000 K-12 children. ESC12 will be offering a parallel project in eastern Texas. ESCs 15 and 12 will lead these initiatives because of their consistent leadership and success in procuring and implementing previous school safety solutions for Texas schools.
All West Texas ESC regions need evidence-based school safety, campus climate, and youth mental health interventions. With the onslaught of the COVID-19 crisis, the need for evidence-based solutions to create safer and healthier school spaces has never been more important. Prior to COVID-19, school violence in Texas was already increasing instead of declining. That pattern has continued, with the tragic events at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas occurring most recently. With eight mass shootings in thirteen years, well-trained school staff and other evidence-based solutions to mitigate school violence and improve campus safety have become even more important in the State of Texas.
TSSEP will improve safety in schools across western Texas by providing schools with a mobile device Help app to connect children and families in crisis with the help they need, along with a Crisis Text Line, Out-of-Hours support to provide school leaders with assistance during evening, weekend, and holiday hours, a brain development curriculum, and e-therapy solutions. ESC15 has secured partnership commitments from 39 school districts to implement this project.
The Texas School Safety Expansion Project will increase school safety and mental health supports for 45 additional school districts and 100,000 additional students by Month 36. Ongoing annual costs are estimated to be less than $1,900 for smaller, rural districts, while larger districts will average $1.25 per student, making the program entirely sustainable.