WHAT IS THE STOP ACT?
The Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act was introduced on Jan. 30, 2018. It passed in the House with almost unanimous support on March 14, 2018, and was signed into law on March 28, 2018. Sandy Hook Promise helped write and pass this bipartisan school safety legislation, the first of its kind, to prevent future violence in schools. Its goal is to build upon the research and lessons learned from Sandy Hook and other tragic shootings and expand access to proven school violence prevention programs to all students across the country. The STOP School Violence Act makes critical funding available to school districts, states, and tribes to implement evidence-based early-intervention programming in their schools to prevent school violence before a weapon ever enters a school environment.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
When students and educators are trained in how to identify signs of gun violence – such as through Sandy Hook Promise’s Know the Signs programs – they can prevent tragedies in their communities and save lives. Four out of five school shooters tell someone about their plans ahead of time – and 69% tell more than one person. Unfortunately, many youth and adults who observe these signs do not recognize or report what they are seeing. The STOP School Violence Act helps more schools access these lifesaving programs to train their youth and adults to be upstanders and take action to prevent tragedies.
WHAT DOES THE STOP ACT DO?
The STOP School Violence Act makes annual grants available to states, school districts and tribal organizations to bring evidence-based programs and strategies to schools to prevent acts of violence. Through these programs, students, school personnel and law enforcement are trained in how to identify signs of violence or a mental health crisis, and how to intervene to prevent people from hurting themselves or others. The legislation also encourages the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems and the formation of evidence-based school threat assessment and intervention teams to help schools intake and triage threats before tragedy strikes.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT TEACHERS & CORE CURRICULUM?
STOP gives all educators and administrators access to critical funding to bring violence prevention programming to their schools at no cost. STOP is not a mandate and provides flexibility for states, districts and tribes to choose the evidence-based programs that best fit the needs of their students and communities. Sandy Hook Promise’s Know the Signs programs are just some of many programs that meet the STOP Act requirements. States and school districts may also choose programs, like Know the Signs that can be delivered through digital, in-person, classroom, or large assembly trainings – offering even more options to fit with their current curriculums.
DO THESE TYPES OF MEASURES WORK?
Yes! To date, Sandy Hook Promise has trained more than 11 million youth and adults in 14,000+ schools in its Know the Signs programs that focus on prevention to help end the epidemic of gun violence. Through these no-cost programs, Sandy Hook Promise has averted multiple school shooting plots, teen suicides and other acts of violence across the country. We know that school violence is preventable when we teach youth and adults the warning signs and how to take action to save a life.
HOW CAN I APPLY FOR FUNDING FROM A STOP GRANT?
If you’re interested in getting STOP funding for your school district or community, please take the following steps:
1) Apply online: by June 9, 2020 for grants to provide students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence.
2) Subscribe to alerts from Grants.gov to stay updated on changes or openings in applications.
3) Head to the Bureau of Justice Assistance website for the step-by-step process of how to apply for STOP grant funding.
 Vossekuil, B.; Fein, R.; Reddy, M.; Borum, R.; & Modzelski, W. The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Programs and U.S. Secret Services, National Threat Assessment Center, Washington, D.C., 2004.