RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – Governor Glenn Youngkin announced a $16.4 million grant that will go towards improving security in high-need student divisions.

The “Stronger Connections” grant program will allow schools in the Commonwealth to purchase new security equipment and improve communication during emergencies. The grant can also be used to analyze threat assessment data, as well as analyze funding for security at schools where security is not there.

The grant is supposed to focus on school divisions where students are at an increased risk of violence and missing school, and where there is a high student-to-staff ratio for mental health workers. It will also prioritize rural schools that have a high percentage of underprivileged students.

“We know students learn best when they feel safe in their classrooms, and when teachers are able to focus on the academic needs and wellbeing of their students,” said Governor Youngkin. “While Virginia has long been a leader in school safety with regular threat assessments and security audits and annual state grants for school security equipment, the events of the school year now coming to a close remind us that we need to do more to protect our students and the educators to work everyday to prepare them for success.” 

School divisions must apply for the grant on the Virginia Department of Education website.
Applications, which will be open from June 1 until August 1. The VDOE will then announced the awards in the fall.