Lexington District 3 receives $500K in federal money for school safety | #schoolsaftey

The school district covering Batesburg-Leesville is one of four in South Carolina to receive money through a federal program to bolster school safety.

Lexington County School District 3, which serves about 2,000 students, received a $500,000 grant from the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (AKA the COPS Office). With the district also stepping up with some matching funds, the total that it will spend on safety as part of its participation in the COPS Office’s School Violence Prevention Program will be $666,769, a district spokesperson explained.

“In Lexington 3, safety is not just a priority, it’s our unwavering commitment,” Todd Bedenbaugh, the district’s director of operations, is quoted in a release. “Everyday, we strive to ensure the well-being of our students, staff, and community members. We consider it our duty to provide an environment where everyone can learn, grow, and thrive as a Panther, free from fear or concern. Safety will always be our foremost goal.”

All told, more than 200 grants were awarded through the School Violence Prevention Program for 2023, with the district reporting that it was one of more than 1,000 applicants.

“Applications were evaluated on a number of factors including the projected impact of the proposed safety projects, the management/implementation plan for the projects and sustainability of the safety improvements,” the release states. “Please note that Lexington 3 is unable to divulge all of the details of the planned security enhancements that will be paid for by the grant in order to safeguard their effectiveness. However, one of the planned improvements includes upgraded and increased camera surveillance across the district.”

$500,000 was the most any applicant was awarded, with one other in-state applicant (Greenville County Schools) receiving that amount. Nationwide, 93 applicants were awarded more than $400,000. In all, the 2023 grants totaled more than $73 million.

“We are profoundly grateful for the support that this grant award will provide,” Ashley Atkinson, Lexington 3’s superintendent, is quoted. “This funding will enable us to further bolster the safety and security measures within our school district, ensuring an environment where every student and staff member feels safe and supported and can pursue their goals with confidence and peace of mind, because we believe that a secure educational setting is the foundation for success and growth.”

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