From the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute:
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute awarded more than $150,000 in matching grants to five public schools to address bullying and substance use during the 2021-22 school year. The funding is part of the School Safe Haven program, which was developed by the Indiana General Assembly in 1995 to create a safe physical and social environment for students.
“Bullying or dealing with substance use issues can have a devastating impact on a student’s ability to learn and succeed in life,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “At CJI, we’re working to address these issues before they start and assist schools in creating the best possible environment for students to succeed.”
Through education, outreach and school personnel training, Safe Haven works to reduce bullying (physical and online) and alcohol, tobacco and drug use, while promoting safety and educational progress.
Grants were available to Indiana public schools and public charter schools and will be used to fund bullying prevention programs, counseling services and provide after school support during the 2021-22 school year.
Michael Ross, who is ICJI’s Behavioral Health Division Director and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, said that kids who have been bullied can experience negative physical, social, emotional, academic and mental health issues, and that bullying can leave a lasting mark on the developing brain that’s as serious as the developmental and emotional impact of child abuse.
“Being bullied is an extremely stressful and often traumatic experience,” Ross said. “It has been linked to many negative outcomes including anxiety, depression, substance use, poor academic performance and even suicide. Through Safe Haven, we’re proud to come alongside schools that are working to address the root causes and mitigate the effects of bullying.”
The following schools were awarded 2021-22 Safe Haven grants. The projects and funding amounts were approved by the ICJI Board of Trustees in June. Click here for a detailed description of each project.