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Cops in North Texas Schools Are About to Get a Big Funding Boost

Several North Texas school districts are in line for another round of dough from the federal government.
Several North Texas school districts are in line for another round of dough from the federal government. Brandon Harer, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
A wave of funding for police in North Texas schools is on the way.

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was distributing about $126 million to add policing and public safety measures in schools. About $1.8 million of that funding is coming to six different school districts in the area.

Districts in Dallas County and Tarrant County are receiving some of the largest chunks of cash; Garland ISD in Dallas County will get over $700,000 and Saginaw ISD in Tarrant County will get at least $500,000.

“Schools must be safe places to learn, and today’s investment of more than $125 million under the STOP School Violence Act will help ensure that they are,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press release announcing the grants.

Some challenge whether adding more funding for cops in schools is good for students, though.

A 2018 study from the University of Texas at Austin found that Texas schools with police funded by U.S. federal grant programs see a 2.5% decrease in high school graduation rates. College enrollment rates for students at Texas schools with federally funded cops are 4% lower than their less-policed peers, according to the study. Black students are far more likely to be disciplined

Nationwide, funding for cops in schools has ballooned in recent years. Former President Donald Trump signed the STOP School Violence Act into law in 2018, following the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. The number of school shootings rose every year after, from 32 in 2019 to 149 in 2021.

The awards to North Texas districts come following a tense past few weeks at public schools in the region.

Late last month, several middle and high school students in Frisco were taken into custody after posting on social media that they were going to participate in a "National School Shooting Day." A few days before, a Rockwall High School student was taken into custody. Authorities received a tip about the student threatening to shoot up the school, and found a series of texts that featured the individual posing with what turned out to be airsoft guns.

As “National School Shooting Day” social media posts started going viral that same day, Kaufman ISD officials decided to close its high schools to keep students safe.

Just a few days before, Frisco ISD closed Lone Star High School after police were alerted to social media posts about a threat to kill students at the school.

A few months earlier, in October last year, a Timberview High School student brought a gun to school and shot and injured two fellow students and a teacher.
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Michael Murney is a reporting fellow at the Dallas Observer and a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. His reporting has appeared in Chicago’s South Side Weekly and the Chicago Reader.
Contact: Michael Murney