Washington Gadfly

U.S. Ed Dept. Gives Three Cities $5 Million For Students Riot Stress Relief

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
Font Size:

Obama’s Education Department has awarded $5 million in grants to Chicago, Baltimore and St. Louis to foster “student resilience” following rancorous protests and riots in those cities over alleged police brutality and racism.

“Students who live in communities where there has been significant civil unrest can be traumatized by these events,” said Education Department general counsel James Cole Jr. said in a press release. “In many communities, particularly those that are historically underserved, funding is often limited or unavailable to address the mental and emotional needs of those affected. These grants will help address those needs and get students the help they deserve.”


Does the Education Department understand that maybe some of the traumatized students who need more resilience include offspring of Baltimore police officers wrongly accused of killing Freddie Gray? Or kids sired by the St. Louis cops who Washington Post affirmative action hire and national reporter Wesley Lowery loudly accused of a false arrest but never actually sued? Possibly because the incident might have been colorful enough to get him on “Meet the Press” but not sufficiently egregious to convince a jury he was illegally arrested?

It doesn’t sound that way.

Education Secretary John King, Jr., made it sound in the same press release like everything was the cops’ fault. “Violence tears at the fabric of a school community, and the long-term effects can be devastating. The Department of Education is committed to addressing the mental health and social support needs of students who are impacted, directly or indirectly, by traumatic events in their communities.”

The Department spelled out the particulars of its largesse. “St. Louis received an award totaling $1,445,884; Baltimore received $2,374,000, and Chicago received $1,274,909. The grants support system-wide approaches linking schools, mental health service providers, and community-based organizations to address the comprehensive educational, behavioral, and mental health needs of youth.”

The grants are part of a new discretionary program the Department called Promoting Student Resilience. Sounds like such money could be on the way to municipalities that make the right pitch. Probably not a good idea to say you need help for students coping with black on black crime!

But don’t existing federal, state and local programs already in place cover this kind of thing anyway? And how does the Department even know that all the “unrest” is causing students psychiatric problems that need additional and particular treatment?

In response to these kind of questions, somebody from the Department of Education press office, who would not even give her full name, said all the information needed was on their website.

Actually, it was not. But pressed further she explained that, given the really late hour, 5:45 PM Friday, nobody was available to talk on the record until Monday morning.

Evan Gahr