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Leon County Schools agrees to provide $70K to Commission on the Status of Men and Boys program

School board approved funding Tuesday
Posted at 9:26 PM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 21:26:30-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Leon County Sheriff's Office says that early intervention is a key role in what the Commission on the Status of Men and Boys is all about.

"Everything is interdependent. Realizing that it is, it makes more sense for us to put all of our resources into one basket," Steve Harrelson, Leon County Assistant Sheriff said.

That's why Leon County is tackling crime collectively.

The sheriff's office, county, city, and Leon County Schools are all on board to create a Commission on the Status of Men and Boys.

It is a direct result of the Anatomy of a Homicide report that looked into trends and statistics surrounding the last five years of homicides in the county.

Harrelson says having the power to work collaboratively will be a game changer.

"Dealing with crime in the community is a multi-pronged approach. We deal with the people who are already in the system, but you're trying to catch the folks early before they already get into the system," Harrelson said.

At the April 26 school board meeting, Leon County School Board members voted to join the effort to bring down crime.

Funding will come from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).

"The Leon County School Board and I have committed to sending $70,000 out of ESSER money sent from the federal government to help kids dealing with mental health issues coming out of covid to help in this effort," Leon County Schools superintendent Rocky Hanna said.

Hanna says he's seen how mental health has impacted students.

While the classrooms are safe, he says this is about helping kids after they return home.

But also ensuring the necessary resources are available while they're in school.

"Coming out of covid, we have seen an increase in aggressive behaviors and violence in all of our schools. Kids that are just having a hard time coping and dealing. The social aspects and coming back into large groups and trying to navigate the stress that came with the pandemic, a lot of kids are struggling with that," Hanna said.

The inter-local agency will work to address the root cause of crime at every age.

"We learned from the tragedy that occurred at Parkland. Different agencies had information on the school shooter, but they weren't sharing that information. It is incumbent upon us to learn from that tragedy to ensure that something like that doesn't happen here," Hanna said.