Putnam County earmarks $2 million to protect schools
In the aftermath of the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, many Hudson Valley school districts are reevaluating their security protocols.
In Putnam County, Executive MaryEllen Odell has announced that the county will earmark $2 million for the Sheriff's Department to work with the Department of Social Services and Putnam's six school districts to protect schools.
The funding will come from the $19.1 million the county received from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA. "We need to acknowledge that school shootings can happen anywhere, even in Putnam, the safest county in the state, and we need to prepare in order to prevent a tragic event from occurring here," County Executive Odell said. "Our schools are the biggest employers in Putnam County and our children, of course, are our most precious resource. There is no better use for ARPA money than to protect our schools and find ways to identify and help students who might be experiencing a mental health crisis before it's too late."
The effort, called "Team Up for School Safety," will start with Sheriff Kevin J. McConville and Department of Social Services and Mental Health Director Michael J. Piazza Jr. working with school superintendents countywide to identify what is already in place and which gaps districts might need to fill. "The safety and security of our students, faculty, and administrators is of fundamental importance to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and its members," Sheriff McConville said. "There is an undeniable and increasing prevalence of emergency situations in schools, and there is an increasing severity of school violence.
Since Columbine, which occurred in 1999, there have been over 287 school shootings.