The University of Michigan School of Public Health will house a $6 million multidisciplinary, multi-institutional national research and training center on school safety that will provide schools with training and technical assistance to prevent school violence.

The new center is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice. According to the university, the center will bring together faculty and staff from top schools of public health, criminal justice and education, school safety professionals, and experts in evidence-based practices, law enforcement, crisis intervention, violence prevention and mental health.

Partners include the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, University of Virginia, Michigan State University, National Council of Behavioral Health, Association of School Superintendents and National Association of Elementary School Principals, among others.

“We recognize that even when schools have tools to implement evidence-based strategies, they are often faced with limited staffing, constrained funding and insufficient access to training,” said Justin Heinze, co-principal investigator of the new center and assistant professor of health behavior and health and education at the U-M School of Public Health. “The center will bring together a national multidisciplinary team to develop comprehensive and accessible training and technical assistance to increase schools’ capacity to promote safety in their learning communities nationwide.”

The center, funded for three years, will include a training and technical assistance team focusing on seven areas: threat assessment, crisis intervention teams, law enforcement training, violence prevention/mental health, notification technology, deterrent measures and capacity building. It also will create a comprehensive online database of training resources, workshops, free online courses and interactive online modules and webinars, as well as an online platform.

The center will create a national advisory board with members from rural, urban, suburban and tribal school districts.