(WAFB) - On Monday, October 1, Governor John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Department of Education, in partnership with LSU and the Governor’s Blue Ribbon School Safety Commission, has been awarded more than $3.6 million for the Grants to States for the School Emergency Management (GSEM) program to help schools across the state develop and expand their emergency operation plans for disasters.
The grant is through the U.S. Department of Education. Louisiana’s education department will work with LSU’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training/Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education (LSU-NCBRT/ACE) to provide schools with the needed technical assistance, training, and implementation of disaster plans.
“It is imperative that we do everything possible to ensure the safety of our students, teachers, and school faculty. This grant is going to help our schools develop high-quality plans to respond to disaster whether natural or manmade. We’ve experienced a number of federally declared disasters over the past 13 years. Since Hurricane Katrina, 152 school districts (public, private, and charter) have applied to the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for public assistance funds following those disasters. LSU’s NCBRT/ACE has an outstanding history of collaborating with national experts who contribute to the development, delivery, and research of effective emergency plans, and I applaud everyone involved in securing this important grant to help create safe and secure schools,” said Edwards.
The GSEM program gives grants to state educational agencies to provide training and technical help in the development and implementation of emergency operation plans.
“Every child, teacher, and school worker in Louisiana deserves to feel safe in his or her learning or work environment. This grant will help ensure this is possible by providing schools with world class response training, by encouraging collaboration among local school and emergency response leaders, and by supporting the development and implementation of updated, high-quality school emergency response plans,” said State Superintendent John White.
The grant (total of $3,659,198) will be distributed over five years in the following increments:
- Year 1 - $749,925
- Year 2 - $749,223
- Year 3 - $749,305
- Year 4 - $749,743
- Year 5 - $661,002
“It is with great pleasure that LSU NCBRT/Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education was able to collaborate with the Governor’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Education on this grant application. Working together to better protect our children, teachers and school workers is vital. Louisiana is very fortunate in being awarded this grant to advance the capabilities of our state and local school districts emergency operations plans. LSU NCBRT/ACE looks forward to working with school districts across the state over the next five years by conducting training and exercises to enhance emergency operations plans," said LSU-NCBRT/ACE Director Jeff Mayne.