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Nearly $1 billion going to help student mental, emotional health after Uvalde shooting

Close up of a psychologist taking notes on clipboard in therapy session for children
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Close up of African-American psychologist taking notes on clipboard in therapy session for children

News brief

Nearly $1 billion in new federal grants is poised to go to high-need schools to support students and their mental health.

The grants come via the U.S. Department of Education's Stronger Connections program, funded by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was passed in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

The money can be spent on things like telehealth services, ongoing teacher education, community engagement, supporting culturally affirming practices and bullying prevention.

Jesus Jara is superintendent of the Clark County School District, which includes Las Vegas. He said on a press call this week that more bullying prevention funds can help them monitor cyber spaces.

“Now with everybody on computers, on technology, being able to monitor that experience so our kids are able to work together and really be in a safe learning environment,” he said.

Department of Education officials also highlighted that places like Santa Fe Public Schools in New Mexico could use the funding to continue expanding the district’s restorative justice program, and school counselor programming.

State officials will identify high-need areas that can qualify for the funding, then the dollars will eventually go to school programming.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is expected to provide another $1 billion soon to retain and increase the number of school-based mental health professionals.

The amount of money that each Mountain West state will get through the Stronger Connections grant program is listed below.

Montana: $4,833,025

Idaho: $4,833,025

Wyoming: $4,833,025

Nevada: $8,866,003

Colorado: $9,356,572

Utah: $5,100,063

New Mexico: $7,684,976

Arizona: $20,826,927

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau.