$1.3M Grant for Newtown Schools Funds 'Creative Expression,' 'Wellness Activities'

May 30, 2013 - 3:48 PM

Sandy Hook Elementary School

Parents and children leave a staging area near Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

(CNSNews.com) – Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on May 24 that the agency is giving a $1.3 million grant to the Newtown Public School District “to help with ongoing recovery efforts following the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in December 2012.”

The funding comes from Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program, according to a press release posted on the agency’s website and the White House blog.

“This program funds short-term and long-term education-related services for local educational agencies (LEAs) and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to help them recover from a violent or traumatic event in which the learning environment has been disrupted,” the program’s website stated.

The announcement describes how the funding will be used, including for support groups, “creative expression and wellness activities.”

“Newtown's $1.3 million Project SERV grant will financially support both the actions taken by the district immediately following the shootings, as well as the district's comprehensive school-based behavioral and academic recovery program,” the announcement stated.

“Those services aim to meet the needs of students, school staff, parents and family members affected by the tragedy and include support groups for parents, siblings, students and teachers; creative expression and wellness activities; counseling; training for educators and school personnel; and additional support staff,” the announcement added.

Duncan was in Connecticut when he made the announcement, where he attended a town hall with Gov. Dannel Malloy. The event was held “to highlight the importance of comprehensive school safety efforts and the need to ensure that all Americans are able to live free of fear,” according to the press release.

"This tragedy has forever changed the entire Newtown community—and our country," Duncan said. "While we continue efforts to enact President Obama's comprehensive approach to make our schools and communities safer, we want to do whatever we can to support ongoing recovery efforts and ensure this community has the resources it needs to meet the needs of its teachers, students and families."

Since 2001, the Education Department has given more than $33.5 million to 106 U.S. schools recovering from violence, weather or other disruptive incidents, the Associated Press reported.