SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) secured $1 million in grant funding under the federal STOP School Violence Act. The funds will be used to provide violence prevention and mental health training to students and staff in school districts that have been the most affected by violence on their campuses.

The CDE will partner with Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit led by family members who lost loved ones in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, to implement the Project Cal-STOP training initiative.

“We are pleased to receive this grant and to partner with Sandy Hook Promise on the joint mission to keep students and schools safe,” said Torlakson. “These funds will allow us to provide the training and support to those districts battling high rates of violence and suspensions. Our goal is to stop acts of violence on campuses and allow schools to be what they should be—safe places for students to learn and thrive.”

According to the 2015–17 California Healthy Kids Survey, a school climate survey of the CDE, 30 percent (or approximately one million) of secondary school students were bullied, victimized, or depressed. Sixteen percent of secondary school students reported having suicidal thoughts.

Over a three-year span, the Project Cal-STOP initiative will train district administrators, school staff, and students on violence prevention strategies and train district and school staff to respond to related mental health crises by expanding CDE’s current Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings. Local educational agencies will be invited to participate in the Project Cal-STOP trainings, and the training sessions are free.

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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, andYouTube.