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President Joseph Biden recently signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law that upon its implementation will provide many different sectors (schools among them) with the funding to better deter gun violence throughout the country. The law, the first gun reform bill signed into law in 30 years, serves as a response to the shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas just over a month ago.

The $13 billion bill includes the following provisions:

  • “Red flag” laws
    • The bill includes $750 million to help states implement “red flag” laws to remove firearms from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others and other programs aimed at shoring up the nation’s mental health apparatus and securing schools.”
  • Increase the background check period up to 10 business days for gun buyers under the age of 21 to review the juvenile and mental health records for someone who would fail a background check.
  • Close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” so individuals in a “serious” “dating relationship” who are convicted of domestic abuse will be prevented from purchasing a gun.
  • $1 billion in new funding through Title IV-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to lift up activities for student learning conditions, such as evidence based-practices that foster positive school climates. 
  • $500 million for the School-Based Mental Health Service Grant Program to increase the number of mental health service providers.
  • $500 million for the School-Based Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Grant program to train and diversify the pipeline of counselors, social workers, and psychologists in schools.
  • $300 million through the STOP School Violence Act to improve school violence prevention efforts. 
  • $240 million for programs raising awareness about mental health among school-aged children and teens, and connecting students who have potential behavioral health issues with needed services. 
  • $50 million for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which invests in extracurricular, after-school, and summer programs. 
  • $28 million to support trauma care in school settings. 
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In an article by K-12 Dive, mental health professionals outlined important measures to take to prepare schools for the incoming funding the gun safety bill allots. The first of the steps was to hire more mental health professionals. The Assistant Deputy Executive Director of the American School Counselor Association, Amanda Fitzgerald, said the step provides an immediate return on investment. Another point was to build community coalitions that involve students, parents, and marginalized groups in decision-making to reveal alternative perspectives that administrators hadn’t considered. Finally, the article suggested reaching out to state agencies immediately. They mentioned that now is a perfect opportunity to prep and educate faculty on mental health issues along with the plans the school is looking to implement.

Kokomo24/7® got its start in the health and safety of schools and has built out a robust suite of tools meant to help schools improve the mental wellbeing and safety of their students. Students can utilize our Anonymous Reporting module to call attention to concerning behavior or events. Faculty can report on and monitor the progress of their students with our Case Management system. Administrators can send out emergency notifications to select groups or even entire schools. Find out how Kokomo24/7® can help your school by scheduling a demo through the button below.

 

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