The Bureau of Workers Compensation has approved $6.6 million for school safety and security initiatives.
Announced in conjunction with the governor’s "STRONG Ohio" plan to reduce gun violence, the grants offer $3 for every $1 a school district spends, up to $40,000.
The money will go to enhancements like security doors, panic bars, bulletproof glass, and the modifications of facility entrances to restrict access.
Bureau of Workers Compensation CEO Stephanie McCloud admits that school shootings are not the biggest source of workplace injuries.
“But they are a significant and notable source,” she says. "And keeping teachers safe, I think that’s a public concern for all of us. Do we keep our teachers safe, do we keep our workers safe, and then ultimately, keeping children safe.”
The program also helps schools purchase more mundane safety measures that prevent slips, falls, and other injuries that may happen in the normal course of a school year.
The program has existed for awhile, but McCloud says it dovetails with the larger safety plan that DeWine announced this week.
“It’s a small thing we can do,” she says. “Obviously we are not the largest part of STRONG Ohio for that reason, because it is a statewide initiative with numerous points to it. But we are a small part and where we can protect the workers in the school system, we’re going to do that.”
So far, 219 school districts have taken advantage of the grants, but the program is open indefinitely. McCloud says they don’t have a specific amount of money for the effort, and the final total will be largely impacted by how much districts decide to put in.