Kenyatta applauds Tech Freire Charter School for winning school safety grant

PHILADELPHIA, March 2 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta today congratulated Tech Freire Charter School, which resides in his 181st Legislative District, for winning a $7,000 state grant to measure its current physical safety and behavioral health programs to determine if adjustments should be made. He also lauded a safety grant awarded in the same round to Temple University.

“Children are among our must vulnerable citizens and it is our civic and moral duty to provide safe spaces for them in school and beyond,” Kenyatta said. “I congratulate the educators and administrators of Tech Freire for recognizing the need to assess the physical and mental safety of their students and for making a strong case for the state dollars that will help in the effort. I am committed to making sure all possible state funding that is meant to ensure the presence of behavioral health counseling services, security equipment and safety plans in schools is sent to the people I serve.”  

Kenyatta is a sponsor of legislation that would require the Department of Education to investigate and report on the number of mental health professionals in schools in order to make recommendations on how to increase the number of school mental health professionals to meet nationally accepted ratios. The bill (H.B. 1622), known as Philip’s Law, is named in honor of a an 11-year-old student from his legislative district who died by suicide after struggling to seek and get help.  

Kenyatta said the competitive grant was awarded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s School Safety and Security Committee on Wednesday. This committee is the result of Act 44 of 2018, and is responsible for establishing the standards schools must meet when performing school safety and security assessments.

Funds can be used for a variety of items based on needs. Uses can include equipment purchases, training, programs, counseling services, planning, screenings and to secure behavioral health care professionals and support.

According to Kenyatta, Temple University also received $299,032 in state funding from the committee under its Community Violence Prevention/Reduction Grants program. These grants support programs to increase community access to behavioral health and related intervention services and reduce overall community violence. In Temple’s case, in and around its campus.