Pascrell, Gottheimer Announce $2.2M School Safety Grants
PATERSON, NJ – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) celebrated the announcement by the Department of Justice that it was awarding $2,236,139 to Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic counties and the state of New Jersey. The grants are part of STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program to prevent violence and respond to the mental health crises in schools enacted by Congress is the wake of the Parkland school tragedy.
“I am heartened that our schools will receive some of the funding they need to protect our children. Passed by Congress this year, these preventative security and training measures will help keep New Jersey kids safe,” said Rep. Pascrell, a former history teacher. “But the truth is, it is a grievous national tragedy that these grants are necessary. Classrooms should be about geometry and biology, not guns. The super majority of this country continues to cry out for comprehensive, commonsense gun safety measures. So do I. As we continue to fight for them, these measures are necessary. But I am confident that by working together we can have a society and schools without gun violence.”
“America’s teachers and students deserve should feel safe in schools around the country . There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to end gun violence and ensure that our children aren’t in danger in their classrooms. After Parkland, Congress overcame the traditional partisan divide on this issue and took a step forward, but there’s more to do.” said Rep. Gottheimer. "I’m proud to fight for these grants that clawback our federal tax dollars to protect our children and defend our communities from threats of violence and acts of lone-wolf terrorism."
A list of STOP School Violence grants to New Jersey:
- $500,000 to Bergen County
- $500,000 to Hudson County
- $236,140 to the Passaic Board of Education
- $999,999 to the New Jersey Department of Education
The grants are funded through H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in March 2018 following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 24, 2018.
In total, $70,000,000 was awarded by the Justice Department to boost school safety measured and training. Ninety-one municipalities and state agencies received $25,000,000 for law enforcement training, and to bolster coordination between school districts and police agencies. Another $28,000,000 was bestowed in 85 grants to local agencies for student, school staff, and police education on preventative measures and training on the best responses to mental health emergencies – the money in this announcement all falls under these grants. And $19,000,000 was issued in 68 grants to fund threat assessment and crisis response teams for police, cities and towns, and school districts.
Rep. Pascrell has long championed school safety measures in Congress and is a strong proponent of comprehensive state and federal gun control. Shortly after the Stoneman High School tragedy, Pascrell and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) offered legislation to reinstate the Obama-era mental health background check for gun purchases that was rolled back by congressional Republicans and repealed by Donald Trump shortly after he entered office. Also in February 2018, Pascrell and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL-07) reintroduced the Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act, which aims to combat gun violence through increased federal taxes on guns and ammunition and by closing tax and regulatory loopholes on some of the most popular and deadly firearms.