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Federal Grant Designed To Cut Crime On School Campuses Nationwide

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Gigi Barnett anchors the Weekend Morning Edition with Meteorologist...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A multi-million dollar federal grant is designed to cut crime on school campuses nationwide. One local district says it wants a piece of the funds.

Gigi Barnett has the details.

Last month in Arapahoe, Colo., 18-year-old Karl Pierson allegedly brought a gun to school and shot a female classmate before turning the weapon on himself.

Investigators believe his intended target was a speech teacher.

Baltimore County has seen this kind of violence on campus.

The first day of class 2012 at Perry Hall High School, then-15-year-old Robert Gladden Jr. opened fire in the cafeteria, striking one student.

“Next thing we hear is a teacher saying, ‘He’s got a gun. Everyone get out of the cafeteria,’” a student said.

“The worst thing goes through your mind. You automatically assume your child is hurt,” one parent said.

National concern for campus safety has prompted the federal government to earmark a $75 million grant for school districts to improve safety measures.

Baltimore County is going after some of it.

“Walkie-talkies are very expensive when we try to connect with our police department. That may be an area we’d like to look at,” said Dale Rauenzahn, Baltimore Co. Exec. Director of School Safety.

Senator Barbara Mikulski, who created the grant, says the money can go toward better technology at schools–like surveillance cameras and programs that train teachers.

But Rauenzahn says his goal is to cut crime before it begins, and that points to mental health.

“It could be family issues, it could be personal issues that they have, identity issues that bring this violent side out in some students,” he said.

Mikulski says she knows school safety is not a one-size fits all approach and that each district has different needs.

Meanwhile, school leaders can’t apply for the school money alone, they have to do it jointly with their local police department.

Schools can begin applying for the grant next month.

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