By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — The School Department got good news yesterday.
The Patrick Administration has awarded nearly $200,000 in school safety and security grants to 15 school districts in the state and Wakefield was chosen to receive $10,000 of that amount.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen K. Zrike said he was pleased to hear the news.
“It was a good way to kick off the new year,” he said.
The funds will be used to support crisis team initiatives, ensuring that all doors can easily lock from the inside and also ensuring that every classroom has the requisite emergency supplies. The money will also be used to provide extra training for members of the district and school crisis teams.
“We’ve worked hard to create consistent practices and structures across the district and these resources will be used to accelerate these efforts,” said Zrike. “Above all, we have a responsibility to keep our students and staff safe during the school day so they can focus on our core of work of teaching and learning.”
Other public school systems in the state receiving the grants were: Agawam ($10,000), Ashland ($13,000), Bellingham ($8,635), Danvers ($13,000), Everett ($2,000), Greater Lawrence Technical ($15,000), Greenfield ($13,000), Hampden-Wilbraham ($14,000), Millbury ($15,000), Newton ($20,000), Old Colony Regional Vocational ($15,000), Pittsfield ($10,000), Quabog Regional ($11,000) and Weymouth ($20,000).
According to a press release from the Massachusetts Executive Department of Education, in January, through Executive Order No. 548, Gov. Patrick established a cross-Secretariat Task Force on School Safety and Security was charged with developing school safety and security guidelines that school districts could adapt and implement to ensure that students and educators are safe in the event of an emergency situation.
Members of the task force appointed by the Governor included, among others, representatives of the education, behavioral health and law enforcement communities. The Task Force met regularly since January across the Commonwealth, hearing from a wide variety of experts on best practices and guidelines related to school safety and security.
The Task Force was co-chaired by the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services and Public Safety.
The report issued 29 recommendations aimed at enhancing school district safety and security.
“These grants became reality because Gov. Patrick and I heard directly from the field there was a need for this,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “We are proud that these grants will help fund not just the upgrading of outdated or non-existent technology but also some innovative and critically important behavioral health initiatives.”
For more information, visit www.mass.gov/edu/safety.