The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, recently announced a new resource that schools can use to communicate with parents and families about the importance of safe firearm storage, and encourage more people to take preventive action by safely storing firearms.

This is an issue that the New Jersey School Boards Association shined a spotlight on in its Firearms Safety Task Force final report, which it published in 2023. That report includes numerous recommended strategies that local boards of education may consider implementing in their respective districts to ensure the safety of students, staff and members of the community.

“Gun-related injuries and deaths are a heartbreaking public health crisis, and it will take action from all of us to better protect our children,” said Dr. Miguel Cardona, the USDOE’s secretary of education. “We know that keeping guns locked and securely stored is one of the most effective tools we have for keeping kids safe and preventing senseless tragedies.”

The USDOE resource released to principals and district leaders can be used to communicate with parents, families and communities on the importance of safe firearm storage. The resource is accompanied by a letter from Cardona encouraging principals to take action.

The USDOE also recently announced $6.4 million in new Project Prevent awards to implement community- and school-based strategies to prevent and mitigate the impacts of community violence, and to address the impacts of exposure to community violence.

Guidance on the importance of proper firearm storage comes on the heels of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announcing approximately $50 million in new grants, made possible by BSCA, for states to implement, enhance, and expand the use of school-based health services through Medicaid. The grants will provide up to $2.5 million each to as many as 20 states to expand crucial access to mental health and physical health services at schools under the Medicaid program. Cardona joined U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in issuing a letter this week to states encouraging them to make use of this new funding to ensure that as many schools as possible are providing mental and physical health services at schools and extending the reach of these services to impact more children. The grants hold promise for connecting millions more American children to critical health care services, particularly for mental health.

Learn more in the full news release.