School Board now has additional funds to make school safer

The Calcasieu Parish School Board now has more funds to improve and enhance school security on campuses last week.

On Thursday, the office of U.S. Congressman Clay Higgins announced CPSB was awarded $500,000 by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

According to a release, the COPS Office was created in 1994 with the passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Act to “advance effective policing practices through direct award of competitive discretionary grants to law enforcement agencies across the United States.”

The grants aim to financially support local law enforcement agencies to improve public safety and community protection. Higgins said in a released statement that this grant will with an increase in crime, providing additional dollars to law enforcement is a necessity.

This funding is welcome news. I have spent most of my career dedicated to uniformed service. My Brothers and Sisters of the Thin Blue Line risk their lives every day. They deserve respect and proper funding to protect the communities that they serve. Our nation has seen a steep rise in crime over the past few years and recruitment numbers are down nationwide for officers. Now more than ever they need our help.”

CPSB Superintendent Shannon LaFargue said that they applied for the COPS grant in May 2023, before CPSB received any additional grant dollars for safety and security upgrades on campuses.

The grant funds will be used to obtain additional weapons detectors and radios for better communication with law enforcement.

For Lafargue, to best way to provide students with a good education is by teaching them in safe spaces.

“In order for students to be able to learn in our classrooms, they must first feel safe and secure on our campuses.  Providing a safe and secure environment for our students to learn and our teachers to teach is the most important thing that we do.  Ensuring a safe and secure environment allows the focus on our campuses to remain on teaching and learning.”

Security enhancements have been a CPSB priority. Currently, the CPSB Safety and Security Team monitors metrics related to safety concerns weekly, and the district maintains partnerships with both local municipalities and private contractors to put armed officers on each campus.

This is in addition to “an increased emphasis” on securing outdoor campus entrances, improved fencing, more limited points of entry, installed impact-resistant films on doors

CPSB will begin purchasing now, and expect the funds to be fully spent and improvements to be in place within the next year.

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