Douglas County Schools Get $10 Million To Upgrade School Safety After Shooting

<p>Alex Scoville/CPR News</p>
<p>Douglas County Commissioners Lora Thomas, Roger Partridge and Abe Laydon at a Monday, May 13, meeting to discuss a budget proposal to fund school safety.</p>

A Colorado county has approved spending $10 million on physical and technological upgrades at more than 100 schools and on mental health programming in response to a deadly school shooting in May.

Douglas County commissioners on Thursday appropriated about $7.7 million for physical safety and set aside $1.3 million for technology for schools to deploy in the future, the Denver Post reported.

About $990,000 will go toward mental health programs, including curriculum, training and surveys about school culture. That’s enough to cover schools’ requests related to students’ emotional needs, said Commissioner Abe Laydon.

Ninety-one district schools applied for and received some funding, along with 15 charter schools and eight private schools.

Laydon said the grants won’t be able to prevent all acts of violence, but they will make it more difficult to harm children in Douglas County.

Commissioners also committed an additional $3 million to partially fund 26 police officers in county schools and $331,000 in ongoing funding for a mental health response team that launched Monday.

The May 7 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch south of Denver killed 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo and left eight other students injured. Two former students have been charged in the shooting and their cases are pending.

At the meeting, Commissioner Roger Partridge asked for a moment of silence to honor Castillo — who died trying to disarm a gunman — and his parents.

“It was time for something to be done,” Partridge said.