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Are There Grants for School Security Upgrades?

Written By: Brad CampbellMay 23, 2024

For schools and even whole school districts looking for additional funding to make safety and security improvements, the good news is that there are grants for school security upgrades available from various organizations.

Considering that rates of school violence in the US are higher than ever, there’s never been a better time to look into these types of grants to help improve the safety and security of students and staff.

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FAQs About Grants for School Security Improvements

If it’s your first time looking into school security grants, you may have many questions about how they work. Here are answers to some of the most common questions people have about these grants:

Where do grants for school security upgrades come from?

There are both federal and state school security grants available. Federal grants come from different organizations within the US federal government, especially from different offices that operate below the umbrella of the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

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In October, 2022, the DOJ sent out a press release stating that the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) would be awarding a new round of almost $190 million in grant funding to support school safety.

At the state level, there are various state government organizations that offer grants for school security. Note that, even though they are provided by state governments, these grants are often funded by the federal government.

For example, in California, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services offers something called the California Comprehensive School Security (CCSS) Program. This is just one grant, and most states have a wide variety of school safety and security grants available.

How much money do school security grants provide?

Every grant is different, but school security grants generally provide somewhere in the range of $50,000 to $150,000 in funding.

For instance, the CCSS that we mentioned above is a grant that awards one school $150,000. 

In this case, the funding is provided on the condition that the school also matches $50,000, equal to 25% of the total project cost. This is something that’s fairly common for school security grants.

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Who is eligible for a school safety and security grant?

Eligibility requirements for school security grants vary from grant to grant. Let’s stick with the same example of the California Comprehensive School Security Program that we’ve been talking about to get an idea of what some requirements might be.

For this particular grant, only a County Office of Education from a rural area or a small county with a population of no more than 100,000 is eligible to apply, and can select elementary, middle and/or high schools from their area of authority to be awarded the funds.

As we mentioned above, the applicants must also be able to fulfill the matching requirements of 25% of the total school security improvement project’s cost.

How can I find a grant for school security funding?

The website offers a Grants Finder Tool. This tool allows you to search for applicable federal grant funding opportunities using a variety of parameters by filling out a quiz.

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The Grants Finder Tool quiz starts by asking you what safety and security topic you are looking for funding to address. Options include:

So, if you were looking for funding to help prevent physical harm to students and staff due to violence, you would probably choose “targeted violence” and “threat assessment and reporting,” as an example.

The next questions in the quiz relate to how much funding you’re looking for, the amount of effort required for the application, the end audience/user, and other specifications.

If you can’t find a grant for school security support through the Grants Finder Tool, you can also conduct some research via Google to find local grant funding options. Many state government websites and websites of their sub-organizations provide specific information on state grants.

What can school safety grant funding be used for?

In broad terms, school safety and security grants are intended to support and strengthen the safety of school children across the US. This means the funding can be used to develop and implement a wide variety of safety and security upgrades in schools. Examples include:

  • Conducting threat assessments
  • Providing violence prevention training to school personnel and students
  • Implementing physical security enhancements
  • Developing and implementing anonymous tip reporting systems
  • Hiring school security personnel
  • Coordinating with local law enforcement/emergency services
  • Developing and implementing emergency response plans and drills
  • Creating youth violence prevention and intervention groups

What types of physical security enhancements can security grants fund?

Things like violence prevention training, intervention groups, and anonymous tip reporting systems can do a lot to prevent violence in schools, but they don’t provide physical protection for students and staff.

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As such, it’s important that schools don’t overlook using some of their grant funding to purchase and implement physical security enhancements.

Some of the different types of physical school security upgrades that grant funding may be used for include:

  • Surveillance and alarm systems
  • Metal detectors
  • Access control systems
  • Door locks
  • Two-way emergency communications systems
  • Perimeter security (i.e., fences and gates)
  • Security lighting
  • Security glazing (such as retrofit polycarbonate glazing shields)

For maximum school security, it’s important to implement a combination of the above security technology. Things like surveillance cameras and alarms do a lot to deter crime and violence, while technology like access control systems and security glazing provide access denial.

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Grants for school security enhancements stress that the funds should be used to improve security without compromising a positive learning environment. 

This is why an upgrade like virtually invisible, unbreakable polycarbonate glazing shields is an ideal candidate for school security grant funding.

Final Words

Riot Glass, LLC is committed to helping schools improve their security with our top-of-the-line security glazing products for forced entry and active threat protection. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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