Baker announces $40M proposal to bolster school safety

Money will be allocated for public awareness campaigns, active shooter training, and more.

A student enters the Curley K-8 School in Jamaica Plain. Jessica Rinaldi/Boston Globe

Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday that he will be requesting $40 million in legislative funding to strengthen various aspects of school safety throughout the state. 

Baker’s supplemental budget request is designed to fund a variety of school safety initiatives as well as equip students, staff, and emergency responders with new training to better prepare for threats in schools. 

“As children return full-time to the classroom this fall, we want parents and educators to know that our administration is always working to improve and build on all the resources available to districts to make their schools as secure as possible,” Baker said in a statement. “Our administration has and will continue to provide critical resources for students, staff, families and first responders while making significant investments in training for first responders and school staff so they can protect Massachusetts schools.”


In particular, the proposal will include matching grants for security and communications upgrades both in K-12 schools and in public colleges. It requests grant funding for child care providers so that they can lead multi-hazard emergency planning, which takes into account both natural disasters and human threats. 

Grant funding will also be requested for school districts to develop and pilot anonymous “tip line” programs, where members of the school community and the wider public can alert officials to potential threats. 

Some of these dollars will fund a statewide “Say Something” public awareness campaign. Initiatives like this teach students how to recognize the warning signs of someone who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others. Corresponding training would be implemented along with the public information aspect of a “Say Something” campaign. 

Finally, the proposal calls for funding that would be used to support ongoing emergency response training for school officials, and the creation of a “comprehensive school safety website.”

“These proposed supports would be a welcome addition to school districts’ safety planning and infrastructure,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said in a statement. “The matching funds for equipment upgrades, plus funding for additional school staff to meet and collaborate with first responders are critical pieces that will help ensure our schools are places where students are safe, healthy, and ready to learn.”


This announcement is building off the administration’s Safer Schools and Communities Initiative, Baker said. Through this program, the administration has awarded $15 million in total grant funding. 

This includes $7.5 million that has been awarded to more than 150 districts statewide to invest in security-related infrastructure upgrades like classroom door locks, security cameras, and active shooter detection systems. An additional $7.5 million in grant funding has been awarded through this program to support mental health initiatives and allow schools to hire more mental health professionals. 

Baker said that the school shooting that occurred in Uvalde, Tex. earlier this year was a driving factor in his administration’s decision to pursue extra school safety programs like the ones laid out here.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on