Chardon Schools Receives DOE Mental Health Grant
Chardon Schools has received a $269,530 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to provide mental health counseling to students and staff adversely affected by the Feb. 27, 2012, shooting in the Chardon High School cafeteria.
U.S. Rep. David Joyce announced the grant last week and said the funds are being provided by the Project SERV program.
The program helps school districts recover from a violent or traumatic event that has disrupted the learning environment, Joyce said.
As a part of the shooting recovery process, April Siegel-Green, director of the school district’s Office of Exceptional Children, said Chardon Schools has created the Chardon Healing Committee consisting of local mental health agencies and providers.
The healing committee is comprised of agencies from Geauga, Lake and Cuyahoga counties, Siegel-Green, and doctors David Schonfeld and Dan Nelson from the National Center for Bereavement and Trauma.
Using the grant money, mental health counselors intend to provide mental health screenings to students and staff who witnessed the shooting or, in some way, were victims of the tragedy, the congressman said.
The program is “a screening tool” to identify students who are experiencing effects as a result of the shooting, Siegel-Green said.
It also provides a 10-week program to help them “learn coping strategies to regain their pre-tragedy status,” she said.
In addition, the grant will provide in-service training for staff on “resiliency strategies” as well as strategies to deal with “com-passion fatigue, both components of the effects of post-trauma,” Siegel-Green said.
The screening for indications of mental health trauma will be provided to Chardon High School and Chardon Middle School students, she said.
Mental health providers from Beechbrook Mental Health Agency and Chardon Schools employees, along with support from Case Western Reserve Department of Psychology, have been trained in providing a model program called “Cognitive Behavior Inter-ventions for Trauma in Schools,” Siegel-Green said.
The recovery process will provide them with ways to cope with mental health problems caused by the shootings, said Joyce.
The grant “provides some comfort, as we take an important step toward helping our community recover from this unthinkable tragedy,” Joyce said. “As county prosecutor at the time, I saw firsthand the grief and devastation that no parent should ever have to exper-ience.”
The grant also honors the memory of victims Daniel Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin and Russell King, Jr., who “had their whole lives ahead of them,” Joyce said.
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