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Grant funds Vt. school safety tip hotline, other programs

WATERBURY — The Vermont Department of Public Safety is receiving $400,000 from the Department of Justice to fund new school safety initiatives. The federal grants will pay for programs that allow the whole community to play a role in protecting schools.
“There’s no single strategy to follow to make our schools safe,” Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson said. “School safety is not just about locking doors — it requires partnerships at the local level in order to ensure the network that supports our children is strong and has the tools it needs. These funds will help us continue with a multi-faceted approach to ensuring our kids enjoy a safe learning environment.”
With a $173,000 portion of the grant, the Vermont State Police will establish a School Safety Tip Line. This new tool will enable students, teachers, school staff and community members to report school violence threats anonymously via a web portal or phone line. The system will have the ability to prioritize tips based on keywords that could indicate a specific risk. These keywords could be region specific, and include school names or names of specific persons making threats.
Vermont Emergency Management is receiving $230,000 to expand and support the SurviVermont program statewide. SurviVermont was developed by several local and state agencies in St. Albans, and the program engages the whole community in school safety. VEM and the Vermont School Safety Center will work with the partners to bring together teachers, students and the public at large on school violence prevention, response and recovery through public forums and education.
SurviVermont will familiarize the public on the principles of the three national programs — “See Something, Say Something,” “Run, Hide, Fight” and “Stop the Bleed” — to help individual students and adults to help themselves and others before, during, and after school violence events.
These funds require a 25 percent state match and come in addition to $4 million in state grants awarded to schools this summer to upgrade school safety infrastructure, and $1 million devoted to school safety planning, training, and exercise.

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