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CT Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation at WCSU receives large DHS grant

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CT Center for School Safety logoDANBURY, CONN. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Sept. 6, 2023, the award of 34 grants, totaling $20 million, through the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program for fiscal year 2023. The Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation at Western Connecticut State University was one of the grant recipients, and will receive $362,655 for its Threat Assessment and Management Team.

According to the DHS grant announcement, “The Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation and Western Connecticut State University will expand and enhance capacity for schools in Connecticut to manage school-related threats. They will develop threat assessment teams to support districts in their violence prevention and intervention efforts using the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines model. The Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation will train staff to consult with schools. Additionally, the Center will partner with Safer Schools Together to address digital threats for schools by developing a template and strategy to help districts address threats. They will help districts build capacity to investigate digital threats on social media platforms and help students and parents identify the risks of cyber threats.”

Amery Bernhardt, director of the Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation, said, “We are excited to receive this grant because it will help build and enhance Connecticut K-12 schools’ violence prevention efforts. The training helps schools to recognize concerning behavior, assess the level of risk, and intervene to move people away from using violence.

“The Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) model has research to support its use for violence prevention,” Bernhardt added. “Along with preventing violence, additional outcomes include a reduction in suspensions, increase in counseling services, increase in parental conferences, a reduction in bullying, and no disparities among Black, Hispanic and White students in out-of-school suspensions, school transfers or legal actions. Along with the CSTAG model, we will enhance the ability of the school community in navigating social media and digital threats. Research also reveals that many threats and concerning behaviors are broadcast using online social media platforms. This grant provides an excellent opportunity to help prevent violence in schools throughout the state of Connecticut.”

In its grant announcement, DHS wrote: “The TVTP Grant Program, administered by the DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is the sole U.S. federal government grant program dedicated to helping local communities develop and strengthen their capabilities in combatting targeted violence and terrorism. The TVTP Grant Program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants in local communities across the country to develop targeted violence and terrorism prevention programming in their communities, pilot innovative prevention approaches and identify prevention best practices that can be replicated in communities nationwide.

Created in 2021, CP3 is tasked with strengthening our country’s ability to prevent acts of targeted violence and terrorism nationwide. According to DHS, since the inception of CP3, more than 10,000 Americans have participated in violence prevention trainings funded by grants.

This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, opportunity number DHS-23-TTP-132-00-01.

For a full list of grants, visit www.dhs.gov/tvtpgrants. For more information about the Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation, contact WCSU Communications & Marketing at pr@wcsu.edu.


Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.