Tennessee schools receive millions in additional security funding

Tennessee's 1700 plus schools will have an additional $30 million dollars to spend on safety and security measures this year.

Weeks after Florida school shooting, where seventeen people were killed, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam pushed through Safe Schools Act, which earmarked the money.

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Since then, schools across the state have been doing safety assessments and providing the state emergency operations plans (EOP), which is required before individual districts can apply for the additional funding.

"Within ten days of receiving those applications for funding we make a decision on those funding and actually start moving the money to the district, so they can begin purchasing things or making sure they have people in place if they're hiring a school resource officer," said Dr. Candice McQueen, the state's Education Commissioner.

McQueen said almost every school system is applying for the additional funds.  The deadline to apply is August 31.

"Right here in Shelby County you have almost $4 million going to school safety, with over a million recurring, so they will continue to see that funding year by year, McQueen said.

In Collierville, a Memphis suburb with its own school system, school safety is a big concern.

In March, at Schilling Farms Middle School, parents kept three hundred students out of school one day, after someone left a message on a bathroom wall, threatening a school shooting.  The district's security chief, Nancy Kelley said Collierville will use any additional funding to boost communications abilities with parents and students.

When school starts on August 13, students will have access to an application that can alert school leaders to a potentially dangerous situation.

"Making it right there on their iPad, if they wanted to make a report," Kelley said. "Being very open with parents with the communication piece, as much as you can.

Kelley said the money will also be used for resource officers and security cameras.

“We can’t predict and that’s the sad thing,” said Janet Trent, who live near the school where the three hundred students didn’t who up for school in March.