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Baltimore Schools Receive Federal Grant to Assist in Recovery From Unrest

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The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Baltimore city schools a nearly $300,000 grant to aid with its ongoing efforts to help students and schools recover from unrest following the death of a man in police custody last year.

Protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned into a night of fires and looting in April. Earlier that day, some students walked out of school near a transit hub, where a group of people pelted police officers with rocks and bottles.

The district cancelled school the day after the peak of the unrest, and it provided discussion guides for teachers to process the events with their classes. Baltimore students have said the events stirred up difficult questions about race, justice, inequality, and how young people are perceived by their community.

The Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant, provided by the department's office of safe and healthy students, will help fund a variety of efforts, the federal agency said:

"In an effort to provide resources and assistance to local school officials, the Project SERV grant will enable the district to hire additional full-time social workers and psychologists to solely support the schools in restoring the learning environment. These extra social workers and psychologists will conduct home visits for teacher-referred students in need of services, facilitate small group and/or individual sessions with students, prepare lesson plans for teachers to use in classrooms, and provide professional development/trainings for school-based staff."

Project SERV grants are commonly awarded to districts to aid in recovery from school shootings. Since the grant program started in 2001, the department has awarded more than $42.1 million to 129 grantees.

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