Highlands Awarded Highest Amount of School Safety & Security Grant Funds in A-K Valley
On Feb. 26, 2020, the School Safety and Security Committee established within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) announced that Highlands School District was awarded meritorious and competitive School Safety and Security Grants totaling $484,264 - the highest among all Alle-Kiski Valley school districts and second highest among those in Allegheny County.
These funds will allow Highlands to greatly enhance and improve the school safety measures already in place by upgrading the district’s digital phone system, door controls and card readers, installing IP cameras with digital networking capability, and purchasing new radios and walkie talkies. The district also plans to purchase additional metal detectors, upgrade school vestibules and exterior lighting, and install fencing around the Early Childhood Center. The funds will also enable the implementation of technology and software to monitor and update compliance with staff training, drills and facilities.
"The district is ecstatic to have received this amount of money that will be used to significantly enhance the safety and security for our students and staff,” said Highlands Superintendent Dr. Monique Mawhinney. “Keeping our students and staff safe is our number one priority, so the upgrades to our current systems will help us achieve that goal."
School districts, intermediate units, area vocational-technical schools, charter schools, cyber charter schools, approved private schools, chartered schools for the education of the deaf or the blind, and private residential rehabilitative institutions were all eligible to apply for the school safety grants. Projects were required to support the eligible categories/activities listed under Section 1306-B of the Public School Code of 1949, which includes performing school safety assessments; purchasing security-related technology and equipment; supporting school safety-related and behavioral-health trainings; preparing all-hazards plans; hiring school resource officers, school police officers, school counselors, social workers and school psychologists; and providing for trauma-informed approaches to education.
Highlands was one of the 524 Pennsylvania school entities that were awarded a total of $53.7 million in school safety and security grants.