BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The federal government is offering to help recreate a safe learning environment after a series of violent incidents at a Baltimore City school.
In a tragic year of losses — in which three students were killed — federal education officials are providing more than $350,000 to the Renaissance Academy through a School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant.
“Such tragic, senseless acts of violence disrupt the schools where our students learn and the communities where they live,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “The Department of Education is committed to helping Renaissance Academy’s students, teachers and families recover and to re-establish safe learning environments where all children can focus on getting a great education—free from fear.”
Last November, 17-year-old Ananias Jolley was fatally stabbed. His classmate Donte Crawford was charged with his killing. Then in the following months, another second student was killed — this time shot in the hallway of an apartment complex, The Baltimore Sun reports. Then a student who had recently dropped out was shot and killed on a West Baltimore porch.
The resources coming from the government to help the school are invaluable, Principal Nikkia Rowe tells WJZ, and will benefit students lives both in and out of the classroom. It will go toward increased staff, training for dealing with trauma and extensive mentoring.
“We are Renaissance Strong, and that has become our mantra,” she says.
“This Department of Education grant will give new School CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises and the team at Renaissance special resources to provide students with counseling services and support as they embark on the school year ahead.”
Some of the students who have graduated from the school and mentoring program have come back to help other students, another way the school has been able to turn tragedy into triumph.
Five city schools were awarded money from the same grant after the unrest last April.