WINCHESTER — A two-year, $480,714 federal grant awarded to Winchester Public Schools this month will enable a new school violence prevention program to be implemented.
The program, Winchester Interagency Safety and Empowerment (WISE), aims to improve security through various programs, activities and resources.
As part of WISE, the city schools will implement a division-wide curriculum on bullying prevention. Administrators are in the process of developing the curriculum, said Winchester Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum. This curriculum will create a consistent way to report and investigate bullying cases.
More “Go Bags” also will be made available to teachers, which are duffel bags that contain materials should an emergency or mass casualty occur, Van Heukelum said.
Other improvements the grant will help fund are bulletproof glass entrances at schools and security cameras linked to law enforcement. School staff will be able to use the CopSync 911 technology to help police pinpoint the location of an emergency within a building.
There also will be training to help school counselors handle mental health and trauma counseling following a mass traumatic event.
And the grant will fund an active shooter training course, where a mock school shooting is held at one of the schools on a Saturday in conjunction with police and fire officials.
The funds were made available through the 2019 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office School Violence Prevention Program.
Last year, Congress passed the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act, which permits the Department of Justice to manage grant programs supporting local and state governments and recognized Indian tribes to prevent and reduce school violence.
COPS was awarded nearly $32.5 million to distribute in grants through its School Violence Prevention Program.