Photo Courtesy of the International Center of Photography
“We are in a time where we need to do more—not less—to ensure our schools have the resources, programming and the federal dollars to address everything from the safety and mental health of students, to support for teachers and administrators,” Sen. Schumer said.
By Forum Staff
The U.S. Department of Education budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2019 makes $425 million in cuts to school safety and mental health assistance programs, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted on Monday, 12 days after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
And that, he added, is unacceptable.
“School safety is one of the pillars of what the federal government should be supporting and to know that we have a budget pieced together by the administration that undermines the duty of the Department of Education on so many levels is nails on the chalkboard,” New York’s senior senator said. “We are in a time where we need to do more—not less—to ensure our schools have the resources, programming and the federal dollars to address everything from the safety and mental health of students, to support for teachers and administrators. And it is particularly troubling that we are in the midst of a national tragedy in Florida and having to talk about these cuts because the students impacted by the Parkland shooting are going to need the exact kinds of funding and support that Newton received in the wake of that horrific shooting. To think Florida—or any other community—that needs to have programs in place to handle this trauma, do not, demands immediate change and attention. That’s why I am pledging to work with Republicans and Democrats across the aisle to undo these senseless Department of Education cuts to our nation’s schools and why I am confident congress can pass the test and work together to make our schools safer, not less safe, as this budget could very well do.”
Schumer said the DOE proposal eliminates project prevention grants, which, according to the U.S. Department of Education, provide federal funds to local educational agencies to increase their capacity to identify, assess, and serve students exposed to pervasive violence; and help ensure that affected students are offered mental health services for trauma or anxiety. The grants also help implement school-based violence prevention strategies to reduce the likelihood that these students will later commit violent acts, the senator said.
Additionally, the proposed DOE plan cuts the School Emergency Response to Violence program, which, Schumer pointed out, funds education-related services to help schools recover from a violent or traumatic event in which the learning environment has been disrupted. For example, the district of Newtown was awarded millions of dollars of these funds in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Eliminating these kinds of funds and programs would undermine school safety across the country, Schumer said.