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Overview:

Public concern over school safety has increased over recent decades due to fatal shootings and other violent acts. The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) is an office of the Department of Education created to address school safety concerns that face students. The OSHS administers drug and violence prevention programs for students in elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education, and related programs that promote the health and well being of students. Due to budget cuts over the years, various programs have been dropped, including Alcohol Abuse Reduction, Mentoring Programs, Character Education, School Counseling, Mental Health Integration, and Civic Education.

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History:

The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) was originally named the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) and developed as the successor program to the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) program, first authorized by Congress in 1986 as a response to alarmingly high rates of alcohol and other drug use among children and youth. On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. The SDFSC act, as Title IV, Part A of the NCLB, became effective on July 1, 2002. The OSDFS was developed in September of 2002 to bring together into a single unit a number of programs—in the areas of safety, health, and citizenship—that were previously scattered among several different federal department offices. It was established to function under the auspices of Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE).

 

On September 26, 2011, OSDFS’s name was changed to the Office of Safe and Healthy Students. This action took place in the wake of congressional budget cuts that resulted in the elimination of several programs that had been administered by the OSDFS. The name change and renewed focus on the programs that survived the cuts constituted an effort by OESE and OSHS to maximize its limited resources.

 

OSHS programs that have been eliminated include: Mentoring Programs, Charter Education, and State Grants (2010); Mental Health Integration in Schools, and Foundations for Learning (2011); and Grants to Reduce Alcohol Abuse, and Civic Education (2012).

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What it Does:

The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) distributes discretionary grants to organizations and programs that are formed to promote health and prevent violence. It works on the levels of primary, secondary and higher education institutions. The OSHS works in support of the President’s National Drug Control Strategy goals, and participates in committees concerned with missing, exploited, and trafficked youth.

There are five major program elements within OSHS:

  • Safe and Supportive Schools
  • Health, Mental Health, Environmental Health, and Physical Education
  • Drug-Violence Prevention
  • Character Education
  • Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and School Preparedness

 

The OSHS is made up of the following three groups, each overseen by a group leader:

 

The Safe and Supportive Schools Group – Administers the Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grant program with a focus on bullying, school recovery research, data collection, and drug and violence prevention activities. The group’s programs include Safe and Supportive Schools, Grants to States to Improve Management of Drug and Violence Prevention Programs, Programs for Native Hawaiians, State Grants for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities, and  The Challenge Newsletter.

 

Healthy Students Group – Administers programs that promote prevention of violence and alcohol abuse, and the health and well-being of students and families. The group’s programs include Safe Schools/Healthy Students Discretionary Grants; Models of Exemplary, Effective, and Promising Alcohol or Other Drug Prevention Programs on College Campuses; School-Based Student Drug-Testing Programs; Discretionary Grants to Reduce Alcohol AbuseGrant Competition to Prevent High-Risk Drinking and Violent Behavior Among College Students; Grants for Coalitions to Prevent and Reduce Alcohol Abuse at Institutions of Higher Education; the Carol M. White Physical Education Program; Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Discretionary Grants; Grants for the Integration of Schools and Mental Health Systems; and Foundations for Learning Grants Program.

 

Center for School Preparedness – Administers programs that promote the ability of schools to prepare for and respond to crises and disasters. The group’s programs include Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools, School Emergency Response to Violence, Educational Facilities Clearinghouse, Emergency Management for Higher Education, and Emergency Planning.

 

The OSHS also oversees the following Technical Assistance Centers:

 

Also see:

Bullying Prevention Project

The Positive Action Program (pdf)

Character Education…Our Shared Responsibility

 

 

From the Web Site of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students

Conferences

Director Biography

Fact Sheets

Internet Resources

News and Resources

Newsletter Subscription

Organization

OSDFS Archived Site

Publications - Online

Publications - Other

Reports

Technical Assistance Centers

Webinars

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The money is given out as discretionary grants to national, state or local organizations in order to carry out specific programs, such as the following:

 

The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) reported in 2012 that funding by state grants dropped from $450,000 in 2005 to zero in 2010 and has not risen again. Funding by national programs held to about $225,000 from 2005 to 2010 and subsequently dropped to about $80,000. Funding by Civic Education stayed at about $25,000 from 2005 to 2010, and then dropped to zero and has not increased since. Total funding has dropped from approximately $850,000 in 2005 to $195,000 in 2012.

 

The OSHS’s Carol M. White Physical Education Program awarded 56 grants totaling $27 million in 2012 to school districts and community organizations. The OSHS awarded Joplin Schools $818,185 to support recovery efforts in the aftermath of a 2011 tornado that killed 161 people and severely damaged a number of the Joplin, Missouri, schools.

 

In the FY 2013 National Drug Control Strategy budget, $17 million in grant awards was earmarked for OSHS’s “Safe Schools/Healthy Students” initiative.

more
Controversies:

Conservative Groups Demand Firing of Gay School Czar

Conservatives in 2009 went after an openly gay official in the Obama administration, objecting to his past work and remarks on homosexuality.

 

Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary of education for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (now the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, or OSHS), was previously a teacher and founder of the organization Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which raises awareness and preaches tolerance for gays in schools.

 

Rightwing media outlets such as WorldNetDaily, The Washington Times, and Fox News published articles attacking Jennings. The conservative group Accuracy in Media called Jennings a pedophile and erroneously accused him of teaching 14-year-old boys the dangerous sexual practice of “fisting” and discussing oral sex with them.

 

Jennings weathered the attacks, but resigned from the Department of Education in 2011 to become president and CEO of the nonprofit national service organization Be the Change.

Accuracy in Media's Smear of Kevin Jennings Backfires (by Terry Krepel, Huffington Post)

Wash. Times continues its relentless campaign against Jennings (by Justin Berrier, Media Matters for America)

Think Again: Kevin Jennings, the Mainstream Media, and Right-Wing Target Practice (by Eric Alterman and Mickey Ehrlich, Center for American Progress)

Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job (by Maxim Lott, Fox News)

Ex-pupil defends Obama aide over controversial advice in 1988 (by Jessica Yelin, CNN)

Kevin Jennings Leaving Education Department to Head "Be The Change" (by Chris Geidner, Metro Weekly)

Kevin Jennings Takes on Critics (Advocate)

 

Director Violates Ethics Rules

Eric Andell, a former appellate judge in Houston, Texas, got into trouble while heading the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (now the OSHS) during the George W. Bush administration.

 

Andell was charged with billing the government for personal expenses related to 14 trips he took. He also did not disclose to the federal government that he received salary and paid sick leave from the state of Texas as a visiting retired judge.

 

In 2005, Andell pleaded guilty to unlawful conflict of interest. His punishment consisted of one year of unsupervised probations, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.

 

But he did not lose his law license in Texas, where he continued to practice law.

Former judge Andell gets probation, $5,000 fine (by Michael Hedges, Houston Chronicle)

Attorney Eric Andell of Houston; scofflaw, moron, ethical gremlin (Committee to Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Judges, Attorneys and Public Officials)

 

Propaganda

Roderick R. Paige, who was appointed the first under secretary of OSDFS, was found to have provided payments to a conservative black commentator, Armstrong Williams, to promote the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Paige defended these payments as a standard “outreach effort” to minority groups who stood to benefit most from the George W. Bush administration’s showcase education program. The Education Department’s inspector general criticized the contract, under which Armstrong Williams also agreed “to regularly comment on” and promote the law during his syndicated TV show. Williams has long contended that he did nothing illegal. “There’s nothing to hide,” he said. The $240,000 deal (taxpayer dollars), he said, paid him only to produce the ads. His company ultimately produced one radio ad and one TV ad before the contract was suspended.

Administration Paid Commentator: Education Dept. Used Williams to Promote 'No Child' Law (by Howard Kurtz, Washington Post)

Pundit Armstrong Williams settles case over promoting education reforms (by Greg Toppo, USA Today)

 

Deceitful Name

Compliance with the OSHS is part of NCLB. Some would claim that the name “No Child Left Behind Act” is in and of itself a form of propaganda. The United States government used NCLB to personalize the originally named “Elementary and Secondary Schools Act.” The NCLB Act included a mandate for public schools across the country to contribute their students’ personal information to a military database. 

No Child Left Behind? (Students Against Testing)

No Child Left Behind (Wikipedia)

Rod Paige Condones Illegal Propaganda (blog, First Draft)

 

Misallocation of Funding

In 2000, the Brookings Institution, an independent research group, criticized the OSDFS of being ineffective in making schools neither safer nor more drug-free. From 1986 to 2000, OSDFS provided an estimated $2 billion in funding to approximately 15,000 schools and 50 state governors to spend primarily at their own discretion. The OSDFS funding was reportedly spent on fishing trips, school concerts and performing magicians.  Funding also went to funding various research methods in counseling that have proven ineffective.

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Former Directors:

Kevin Jennings          July 2009 – July 2011

An outspoken advocate for homosexuals, as well as a writer and educator, Kevin Jennings served from 2009 to 2011 as assistant deputy secretary to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education.

 

Born May 8, 1963, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jennings was the youngest of five children to Chester Henry, an itinerant Southern Baptist preacher, and Alice Verna (Johnson) Jennings, who had only a grade-school education. His economically disadvantaged family moved numerous times around the South while Jennings grew up, and he would eventually attend nine schools in four states. At the age of eight, his father died while the family was living in a trailer park in Lewisville, North Carolina. Jennings spent much of his adolescence in rural communities that hated African Americans and gay people; several of his cousins and uncles were in the Ku Klux Klan.

 

He attended Paisley Magnet School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he was beaten up by other students for his effeminate behavior. He tried to kill himself after discovering he was gay.

 

After he and his mother moved to Hawaii, Jennings graduated from Radford High School in Honolulu in 1981, and went on to become the first member of his family to graduate from college. He received his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in history from Harvard University, delivering the Harvard Oration at the 1985 commencement.

 

From 1985 to 1987, he was a high school history teacher at Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island, then at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, from 1987 to 1995. While at Concord Academy in 1988, he became the faculty adviser to the nation’s first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).

 

In 1990, Jennings founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a local volunteer group in the Boston area bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight teachers, parents, students and community members who wanted to end anti-LGBT bias in the state’s K-12 schools.

 

In 1992, he was appointed by Governor William Weld (R-Massachusetts) to co-chair the education committee of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. He was the principal author of its report, “Making Schools Safer for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families,” whose recommendations were adopted as policy by the Massachusetts State Board of Education. The commission led the fight that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to outlaw discrimination against public school students on the basis of sexual orientation and to establish, in 1993, a statewide program to ensure educational equity on issues of sexual orientation.

 

In 1993, Jennings was named a Joseph Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University’s Teachers College, from which he received his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in education in 1994.

 

He subsequently left teaching to set about building the all-volunteer GLSEN organization into a national force. Under his leadership, the GLSEN made safe schools into a national issue, increased by more than 600% the number of students protected from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and grew the number of GSAs from under 50 in 1995 to more than 4,300 when he stepped down in 2008. Also under his leadership, the GLSEN programs like No Name-Calling Week and Day of Silence were established in American schools.

 

Jennings earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1999.

 

He has authored or edited six books, including Telling Tales Out of School: Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals Revisit Their School Days (2000), Always My Child: A Parent's Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning Son or Daughter (2002) and Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son (2006). He also helped write and produce the documentary Out of the Past, which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival audience award for best documentary.

 

Jennings serves on the boards of the Harvard Alumni Association and Union Theological Seminary. He is president of the board for the Tectonic Theater Project. He is the national fundraising chair for the Appalachian Community Fund, where he established the Alice Jennings Fund to help low-income and battered women.

 

In the fall of 2009, Jennings came under attack by social conservatives over a passage in a 1994 book he edited, One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, in which he talked about giving condom advice to a 15-year-old student who was having a relationship with an adult male. Conservatives objected to his failure to notify the student’s parents or authorities about the illegal relationship. Jennings publicly expressed regret over the way he handled the matter many years earlier, and he remained in his job despite calls for his dismissal.

 

Jennings is a founding member of the New York City Gay Hockey Association and occasionally plays left wing for the Hotshots. In August 2005, he had a heart attack on the rink, but returned to the ice two years later.

 

He lives with his partner, Jeff Davis, the managing director of Global Equities Business Strategy at Barclays, and their three dogs.

 

KevinJennings.com

Kevin Jennings’ Hockey Profile

Head of Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools Expresses Regret for Controversial Incident (by Jake Tapper, ABC News)

Biography (AllGov)

 

 

Deborah A. Price      February 2004 – 2009

On February 2, 2004, Deborah A. Price was appointed assistant deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. She also led the Department’s homeland security efforts, in terms of developing quality terrorism preparedness plans for schools.

 

Price grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, after which she went on to gain a theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Upon graduation, Price worked for Senator William L. Armstrong, (R-Colorado), and directed the 1985 National Prayer Breakfast, a religious political organization (President George W. Bush has given regular speeches to the group). Price soon after became the director of research and administration for the Senate Republican Policy Committee under Sen. Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma). She then became a policy adviser to Senator Nickles, who was assistant majority leader at the time. Upon joining the Department of Education Price served as chief of staff of the Office of Federal Student Aid, and then began her work at the OSDFS.

Biography (AllGov)

Official Biography (US Department of Education)

 

 

Eric Andell                 September 2002 – October 2003

In September 2002, then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige appointed Eric G. Andell deputy undersecretary in charge of the newly created Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. He resigned from the post in October 2003. Previously, Andell was a senior adviser to Secretary Paige. In May 2005, Andell pleaded guilty to charging the government for personal travel expenses on 14 occasions and for receiving sick pay while working as a visiting judge for the State of Texas. He agreed to pay $8,659.85 to reimburse the government for fraudulent expenses as part of his plea agreement with the Justice Department.

 

Ex-judge Andell gets probation, $5,000 fine; he admits to charging expenses to U.S. government while working as education official (by Michael Hedges, Houston Chronicle)

 

 

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Comments

Kaleena Porter 5 years ago
i am with the pbis committee for my school and i am trying to write a grant to help with money for pbis. i was wondering where i could find a form to help me with that. thanks.

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Founded: September 2002
Annual Budget: $195.9 million (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: N/A
Office of Safe and Healthy Students
Esquith, David
Director

David G. Esquith has been the director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, an agency formerly known as the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, since January 30, 2012. The office is located in the Department of Education and reports to the assistant secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

 

Born circa 1951 and hailing from the state of New York, Esquith did doctoral work in Education at the University of Kansas, completing all requirements except a dissertation in 1986. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer and has worked as a special education teacher and administrator. He has also been a lobbyist for the Association for Retarded Citizens (now known as The Arc) and a congressional aide.

 

Esquith served in the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for 23 years, including in the Office of Special Education Programs, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). He served as a special advisor to the NIDRR director, as well as NIDRR’s deputy director. After the Department re-organized RSA in 2005, Esquith served as director of the State Monitoring and Program Improvement Division. He also completed an extended detail at the Office of Management and Budget as a program examiner.

 

Esquith is married to Kathryn Gingles, with whom he has two daughters, Sally and Daisy; he also has two sons and one daughter from a previous marriage.

-Matt Bewig

 

Official Biography

Segregation Comment Draws Criticism at School Board Candidate Forum: Candidate Sent Parent to Represent his Views (by Jen Bondeson, Suburban Maryland Gazette)

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Jennings, Kevin
Previous Assistant Deputy Secretary

 

An outspoken advocate for homosexuals, as well as a writer and educator, Kevin Jennings has served since July 2009 as assistant deputy secretary to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education. Founded in 2002, the Office administers drug and violence prevention programs for students in elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education.
 
Born May 8, 1963, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jennings was the youngest of five children to Chester Henry, an itinerant Southern Baptist preacher, and Alice Verna (Johnson) Jennings, who had only a grade-school education. His economically-disadvantaged family moved numerous times around the South while Jennings grew up, and he would eventually attend nine schools in four states. At the age of eight his father died while the family was living in a trailer park in Lewisville, North Carolina. He spent much of his adolescence in rural communities that hated African Americans and gay people; several of his cousins and uncles were in the Ku Klux Klan. 
 
He attended Paisley Magnet School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he was beaten up by other students for his effeminate behavior. He tried to kill himself after discovering he was gay.
 
After he and his mother moved to Hawaii, Jennings graduated from Radford High School in Honolulu in 1981, and went on to become the first member of his family to graduate from college. He received his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in history from Harvard University, delivering the Harvard Oration at the 1985 commencement.
 
From 1985 to 1987, he was a high school history teacher at Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island, then at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, from 1987 to 1995. While at Concord Academy in 1988, he became the faculty advisor to the nation's first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).
 
In 1990, Jennings founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a local volunteer group in the Boston area bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight teachers, parents, students and community members who wanted to end anti-LGBT bias in the state’s K-12 schools.
 
In 1992, he was appointed by Governor William Weld (R-Massachusetts) to co-chair the education committee of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. He was the principal author of its report, “Making Schools Safer for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families,” whose recommendations were adopted as policy by the Massachusetts State Board of Education. The commission led the fight that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to outlaw discrimination against public school students on the basis of sexual orientation and to establish, in 1993, a statewide program to ensure educational equity on issues of sexual orientation.
 
In 1993, Jennings was named a Joseph Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University’s Teachers College, from which he received his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in education in 1994.
 
He subsequently left teaching to set about building the all-volunteer GLSEN organization into a national force. Under his leadership, GLSEN made safe schools into a national issue, increased by more than 600% the number of students protected from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and grew the number of GSAs from under 50 in 1995 to more than 4,300 when he stepped down in 2008. Under Jennings’ leadership, GLSEN programs like No Name-Calling Week and Day of Silence were established in American schools.
 
Jennings earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1999.
 
He has authored or edited six books, including Telling Tales Out of School: Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals Revisit Their School Days (2000), Always My Child: A Parent's Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning Son or Daughter (2002) and Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son(2006). He also helped write and produce the documentary Out of the Past, which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival audience award for best documentary.
 
Jennings serves on the boards of the Harvard Alumni Association and Union Theological Seminary. He is president of the board for the Tectonic Theater Project. He is the national fundraising chair for the Appalachian Community Fund, where he established the Alice Jennings Fund to help low-income and battered women.
 
In the fall of 2009, Jennings came under attack by social conservatives over a passage in a 1994 book he edited, One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, in which he talked about giving condom advice to a 15-year-old student who was having a relationship with an adult male. Conservatives objected to his failure to notify the student’s parents or authorities about the illegal relationship. Jennings publicly expressed regret over the way he handled the matter many years earlier, and he remained in his job despite calls for his dismissal.
 
Jennings is a founding member of the New York City Gay Hockey Association and occasionally plays left wing for the Hotshots. In August 2005, he had a heart attack on the rink, but returned to the ice two years later.
 
He lives with his partner, Jeff Davis, the managing director of Global Equities Business Strategy at Barclays, and their three dogs.
 
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

Public concern over school safety has increased over recent decades due to fatal shootings and other violent acts. The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) is an office of the Department of Education created to address school safety concerns that face students. The OSHS administers drug and violence prevention programs for students in elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education, and related programs that promote the health and well being of students. Due to budget cuts over the years, various programs have been dropped, including Alcohol Abuse Reduction, Mentoring Programs, Character Education, School Counseling, Mental Health Integration, and Civic Education.

more
History:

The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) was originally named the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) and developed as the successor program to the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) program, first authorized by Congress in 1986 as a response to alarmingly high rates of alcohol and other drug use among children and youth. On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. The SDFSC act, as Title IV, Part A of the NCLB, became effective on July 1, 2002. The OSDFS was developed in September of 2002 to bring together into a single unit a number of programs—in the areas of safety, health, and citizenship—that were previously scattered among several different federal department offices. It was established to function under the auspices of Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE).

 

On September 26, 2011, OSDFS’s name was changed to the Office of Safe and Healthy Students. This action took place in the wake of congressional budget cuts that resulted in the elimination of several programs that had been administered by the OSDFS. The name change and renewed focus on the programs that survived the cuts constituted an effort by OESE and OSHS to maximize its limited resources.

 

OSHS programs that have been eliminated include: Mentoring Programs, Charter Education, and State Grants (2010); Mental Health Integration in Schools, and Foundations for Learning (2011); and Grants to Reduce Alcohol Abuse, and Civic Education (2012).

more
What it Does:

The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) distributes discretionary grants to organizations and programs that are formed to promote health and prevent violence. It works on the levels of primary, secondary and higher education institutions. The OSHS works in support of the President’s National Drug Control Strategy goals, and participates in committees concerned with missing, exploited, and trafficked youth.

There are five major program elements within OSHS:

  • Safe and Supportive Schools
  • Health, Mental Health, Environmental Health, and Physical Education
  • Drug-Violence Prevention
  • Character Education
  • Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and School Preparedness

 

The OSHS is made up of the following three groups, each overseen by a group leader:

 

The Safe and Supportive Schools Group – Administers the Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grant program with a focus on bullying, school recovery research, data collection, and drug and violence prevention activities. The group’s programs include Safe and Supportive Schools, Grants to States to Improve Management of Drug and Violence Prevention Programs, Programs for Native Hawaiians, State Grants for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities, and  The Challenge Newsletter.

 

Healthy Students Group – Administers programs that promote prevention of violence and alcohol abuse, and the health and well-being of students and families. The group’s programs include Safe Schools/Healthy Students Discretionary Grants; Models of Exemplary, Effective, and Promising Alcohol or Other Drug Prevention Programs on College Campuses; School-Based Student Drug-Testing Programs; Discretionary Grants to Reduce Alcohol AbuseGrant Competition to Prevent High-Risk Drinking and Violent Behavior Among College Students; Grants for Coalitions to Prevent and Reduce Alcohol Abuse at Institutions of Higher Education; the Carol M. White Physical Education Program; Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Discretionary Grants; Grants for the Integration of Schools and Mental Health Systems; and Foundations for Learning Grants Program.

 

Center for School Preparedness – Administers programs that promote the ability of schools to prepare for and respond to crises and disasters. The group’s programs include Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools, School Emergency Response to Violence, Educational Facilities Clearinghouse, Emergency Management for Higher Education, and Emergency Planning.

 

The OSHS also oversees the following Technical Assistance Centers:

 

Also see:

Bullying Prevention Project

The Positive Action Program (pdf)

Character Education…Our Shared Responsibility

 

 

From the Web Site of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students

Conferences

Director Biography

Fact Sheets

Internet Resources

News and Resources

Newsletter Subscription

Organization

OSDFS Archived Site

Publications - Online

Publications - Other

Reports

Technical Assistance Centers

Webinars

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The money is given out as discretionary grants to national, state or local organizations in order to carry out specific programs, such as the following:

 

The Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) reported in 2012 that funding by state grants dropped from $450,000 in 2005 to zero in 2010 and has not risen again. Funding by national programs held to about $225,000 from 2005 to 2010 and subsequently dropped to about $80,000. Funding by Civic Education stayed at about $25,000 from 2005 to 2010, and then dropped to zero and has not increased since. Total funding has dropped from approximately $850,000 in 2005 to $195,000 in 2012.

 

The OSHS’s Carol M. White Physical Education Program awarded 56 grants totaling $27 million in 2012 to school districts and community organizations. The OSHS awarded Joplin Schools $818,185 to support recovery efforts in the aftermath of a 2011 tornado that killed 161 people and severely damaged a number of the Joplin, Missouri, schools.

 

In the FY 2013 National Drug Control Strategy budget, $17 million in grant awards was earmarked for OSHS’s “Safe Schools/Healthy Students” initiative.

more
Controversies:

Conservative Groups Demand Firing of Gay School Czar

Conservatives in 2009 went after an openly gay official in the Obama administration, objecting to his past work and remarks on homosexuality.

 

Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary of education for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (now the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, or OSHS), was previously a teacher and founder of the organization Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which raises awareness and preaches tolerance for gays in schools.

 

Rightwing media outlets such as WorldNetDaily, The Washington Times, and Fox News published articles attacking Jennings. The conservative group Accuracy in Media called Jennings a pedophile and erroneously accused him of teaching 14-year-old boys the dangerous sexual practice of “fisting” and discussing oral sex with them.

 

Jennings weathered the attacks, but resigned from the Department of Education in 2011 to become president and CEO of the nonprofit national service organization Be the Change.

Accuracy in Media's Smear of Kevin Jennings Backfires (by Terry Krepel, Huffington Post)

Wash. Times continues its relentless campaign against Jennings (by Justin Berrier, Media Matters for America)

Think Again: Kevin Jennings, the Mainstream Media, and Right-Wing Target Practice (by Eric Alterman and Mickey Ehrlich, Center for American Progress)

Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job (by Maxim Lott, Fox News)

Ex-pupil defends Obama aide over controversial advice in 1988 (by Jessica Yelin, CNN)

Kevin Jennings Leaving Education Department to Head "Be The Change" (by Chris Geidner, Metro Weekly)

Kevin Jennings Takes on Critics (Advocate)

 

Director Violates Ethics Rules

Eric Andell, a former appellate judge in Houston, Texas, got into trouble while heading the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (now the OSHS) during the George W. Bush administration.

 

Andell was charged with billing the government for personal expenses related to 14 trips he took. He also did not disclose to the federal government that he received salary and paid sick leave from the state of Texas as a visiting retired judge.

 

In 2005, Andell pleaded guilty to unlawful conflict of interest. His punishment consisted of one year of unsupervised probations, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.

 

But he did not lose his law license in Texas, where he continued to practice law.

Former judge Andell gets probation, $5,000 fine (by Michael Hedges, Houston Chronicle)

Attorney Eric Andell of Houston; scofflaw, moron, ethical gremlin (Committee to Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Judges, Attorneys and Public Officials)

 

Propaganda

Roderick R. Paige, who was appointed the first under secretary of OSDFS, was found to have provided payments to a conservative black commentator, Armstrong Williams, to promote the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Paige defended these payments as a standard “outreach effort” to minority groups who stood to benefit most from the George W. Bush administration’s showcase education program. The Education Department’s inspector general criticized the contract, under which Armstrong Williams also agreed “to regularly comment on” and promote the law during his syndicated TV show. Williams has long contended that he did nothing illegal. “There’s nothing to hide,” he said. The $240,000 deal (taxpayer dollars), he said, paid him only to produce the ads. His company ultimately produced one radio ad and one TV ad before the contract was suspended.

Administration Paid Commentator: Education Dept. Used Williams to Promote 'No Child' Law (by Howard Kurtz, Washington Post)

Pundit Armstrong Williams settles case over promoting education reforms (by Greg Toppo, USA Today)

 

Deceitful Name

Compliance with the OSHS is part of NCLB. Some would claim that the name “No Child Left Behind Act” is in and of itself a form of propaganda. The United States government used NCLB to personalize the originally named “Elementary and Secondary Schools Act.” The NCLB Act included a mandate for public schools across the country to contribute their students’ personal information to a military database. 

No Child Left Behind? (Students Against Testing)

No Child Left Behind (Wikipedia)

Rod Paige Condones Illegal Propaganda (blog, First Draft)

 

Misallocation of Funding

In 2000, the Brookings Institution, an independent research group, criticized the OSDFS of being ineffective in making schools neither safer nor more drug-free. From 1986 to 2000, OSDFS provided an estimated $2 billion in funding to approximately 15,000 schools and 50 state governors to spend primarily at their own discretion. The OSDFS funding was reportedly spent on fishing trips, school concerts and performing magicians.  Funding also went to funding various research methods in counseling that have proven ineffective.

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Former Directors:

Kevin Jennings          July 2009 – July 2011

An outspoken advocate for homosexuals, as well as a writer and educator, Kevin Jennings served from 2009 to 2011 as assistant deputy secretary to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education.

 

Born May 8, 1963, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jennings was the youngest of five children to Chester Henry, an itinerant Southern Baptist preacher, and Alice Verna (Johnson) Jennings, who had only a grade-school education. His economically disadvantaged family moved numerous times around the South while Jennings grew up, and he would eventually attend nine schools in four states. At the age of eight, his father died while the family was living in a trailer park in Lewisville, North Carolina. Jennings spent much of his adolescence in rural communities that hated African Americans and gay people; several of his cousins and uncles were in the Ku Klux Klan.

 

He attended Paisley Magnet School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he was beaten up by other students for his effeminate behavior. He tried to kill himself after discovering he was gay.

 

After he and his mother moved to Hawaii, Jennings graduated from Radford High School in Honolulu in 1981, and went on to become the first member of his family to graduate from college. He received his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in history from Harvard University, delivering the Harvard Oration at the 1985 commencement.

 

From 1985 to 1987, he was a high school history teacher at Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island, then at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, from 1987 to 1995. While at Concord Academy in 1988, he became the faculty adviser to the nation’s first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).

 

In 1990, Jennings founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a local volunteer group in the Boston area bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight teachers, parents, students and community members who wanted to end anti-LGBT bias in the state’s K-12 schools.

 

In 1992, he was appointed by Governor William Weld (R-Massachusetts) to co-chair the education committee of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. He was the principal author of its report, “Making Schools Safer for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families,” whose recommendations were adopted as policy by the Massachusetts State Board of Education. The commission led the fight that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to outlaw discrimination against public school students on the basis of sexual orientation and to establish, in 1993, a statewide program to ensure educational equity on issues of sexual orientation.

 

In 1993, Jennings was named a Joseph Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University’s Teachers College, from which he received his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in education in 1994.

 

He subsequently left teaching to set about building the all-volunteer GLSEN organization into a national force. Under his leadership, the GLSEN made safe schools into a national issue, increased by more than 600% the number of students protected from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and grew the number of GSAs from under 50 in 1995 to more than 4,300 when he stepped down in 2008. Also under his leadership, the GLSEN programs like No Name-Calling Week and Day of Silence were established in American schools.

 

Jennings earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1999.

 

He has authored or edited six books, including Telling Tales Out of School: Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals Revisit Their School Days (2000), Always My Child: A Parent's Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning Son or Daughter (2002) and Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son (2006). He also helped write and produce the documentary Out of the Past, which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival audience award for best documentary.

 

Jennings serves on the boards of the Harvard Alumni Association and Union Theological Seminary. He is president of the board for the Tectonic Theater Project. He is the national fundraising chair for the Appalachian Community Fund, where he established the Alice Jennings Fund to help low-income and battered women.

 

In the fall of 2009, Jennings came under attack by social conservatives over a passage in a 1994 book he edited, One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, in which he talked about giving condom advice to a 15-year-old student who was having a relationship with an adult male. Conservatives objected to his failure to notify the student’s parents or authorities about the illegal relationship. Jennings publicly expressed regret over the way he handled the matter many years earlier, and he remained in his job despite calls for his dismissal.

 

Jennings is a founding member of the New York City Gay Hockey Association and occasionally plays left wing for the Hotshots. In August 2005, he had a heart attack on the rink, but returned to the ice two years later.

 

He lives with his partner, Jeff Davis, the managing director of Global Equities Business Strategy at Barclays, and their three dogs.

 

KevinJennings.com

Kevin Jennings’ Hockey Profile

Head of Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools Expresses Regret for Controversial Incident (by Jake Tapper, ABC News)

Biography (AllGov)

 

 

Deborah A. Price      February 2004 – 2009

On February 2, 2004, Deborah A. Price was appointed assistant deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. She also led the Department’s homeland security efforts, in terms of developing quality terrorism preparedness plans for schools.

 

Price grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, after which she went on to gain a theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Upon graduation, Price worked for Senator William L. Armstrong, (R-Colorado), and directed the 1985 National Prayer Breakfast, a religious political organization (President George W. Bush has given regular speeches to the group). Price soon after became the director of research and administration for the Senate Republican Policy Committee under Sen. Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma). She then became a policy adviser to Senator Nickles, who was assistant majority leader at the time. Upon joining the Department of Education Price served as chief of staff of the Office of Federal Student Aid, and then began her work at the OSDFS.

Biography (AllGov)

Official Biography (US Department of Education)

 

 

Eric Andell                 September 2002 – October 2003

In September 2002, then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige appointed Eric G. Andell deputy undersecretary in charge of the newly created Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. He resigned from the post in October 2003. Previously, Andell was a senior adviser to Secretary Paige. In May 2005, Andell pleaded guilty to charging the government for personal travel expenses on 14 occasions and for receiving sick pay while working as a visiting judge for the State of Texas. He agreed to pay $8,659.85 to reimburse the government for fraudulent expenses as part of his plea agreement with the Justice Department.

 

Ex-judge Andell gets probation, $5,000 fine; he admits to charging expenses to U.S. government while working as education official (by Michael Hedges, Houston Chronicle)

 

 

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Kaleena Porter 5 years ago
i am with the pbis committee for my school and i am trying to write a grant to help with money for pbis. i was wondering where i could find a form to help me with that. thanks.

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Founded: September 2002
Annual Budget: $195.9 million (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: N/A
Office of Safe and Healthy Students
Esquith, David
Director

David G. Esquith has been the director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, an agency formerly known as the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, since January 30, 2012. The office is located in the Department of Education and reports to the assistant secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

 

Born circa 1951 and hailing from the state of New York, Esquith did doctoral work in Education at the University of Kansas, completing all requirements except a dissertation in 1986. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer and has worked as a special education teacher and administrator. He has also been a lobbyist for the Association for Retarded Citizens (now known as The Arc) and a congressional aide.

 

Esquith served in the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for 23 years, including in the Office of Special Education Programs, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). He served as a special advisor to the NIDRR director, as well as NIDRR’s deputy director. After the Department re-organized RSA in 2005, Esquith served as director of the State Monitoring and Program Improvement Division. He also completed an extended detail at the Office of Management and Budget as a program examiner.

 

Esquith is married to Kathryn Gingles, with whom he has two daughters, Sally and Daisy; he also has two sons and one daughter from a previous marriage.

-Matt Bewig

 

Official Biography

Segregation Comment Draws Criticism at School Board Candidate Forum: Candidate Sent Parent to Represent his Views (by Jen Bondeson, Suburban Maryland Gazette)

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Jennings, Kevin
Previous Assistant Deputy Secretary

 

An outspoken advocate for homosexuals, as well as a writer and educator, Kevin Jennings has served since July 2009 as assistant deputy secretary to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education. Founded in 2002, the Office administers drug and violence prevention programs for students in elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education.
 
Born May 8, 1963, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jennings was the youngest of five children to Chester Henry, an itinerant Southern Baptist preacher, and Alice Verna (Johnson) Jennings, who had only a grade-school education. His economically-disadvantaged family moved numerous times around the South while Jennings grew up, and he would eventually attend nine schools in four states. At the age of eight his father died while the family was living in a trailer park in Lewisville, North Carolina. He spent much of his adolescence in rural communities that hated African Americans and gay people; several of his cousins and uncles were in the Ku Klux Klan. 
 
He attended Paisley Magnet School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he was beaten up by other students for his effeminate behavior. He tried to kill himself after discovering he was gay.
 
After he and his mother moved to Hawaii, Jennings graduated from Radford High School in Honolulu in 1981, and went on to become the first member of his family to graduate from college. He received his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in history from Harvard University, delivering the Harvard Oration at the 1985 commencement.
 
From 1985 to 1987, he was a high school history teacher at Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island, then at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, from 1987 to 1995. While at Concord Academy in 1988, he became the faculty advisor to the nation's first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).
 
In 1990, Jennings founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a local volunteer group in the Boston area bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight teachers, parents, students and community members who wanted to end anti-LGBT bias in the state’s K-12 schools.
 
In 1992, he was appointed by Governor William Weld (R-Massachusetts) to co-chair the education committee of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. He was the principal author of its report, “Making Schools Safer for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families,” whose recommendations were adopted as policy by the Massachusetts State Board of Education. The commission led the fight that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to outlaw discrimination against public school students on the basis of sexual orientation and to establish, in 1993, a statewide program to ensure educational equity on issues of sexual orientation.
 
In 1993, Jennings was named a Joseph Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University’s Teachers College, from which he received his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in education in 1994.
 
He subsequently left teaching to set about building the all-volunteer GLSEN organization into a national force. Under his leadership, GLSEN made safe schools into a national issue, increased by more than 600% the number of students protected from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and grew the number of GSAs from under 50 in 1995 to more than 4,300 when he stepped down in 2008. Under Jennings’ leadership, GLSEN programs like No Name-Calling Week and Day of Silence were established in American schools.
 
Jennings earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1999.
 
He has authored or edited six books, including Telling Tales Out of School: Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals Revisit Their School Days (2000), Always My Child: A Parent's Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning Son or Daughter (2002) and Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son(2006). He also helped write and produce the documentary Out of the Past, which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival audience award for best documentary.
 
Jennings serves on the boards of the Harvard Alumni Association and Union Theological Seminary. He is president of the board for the Tectonic Theater Project. He is the national fundraising chair for the Appalachian Community Fund, where he established the Alice Jennings Fund to help low-income and battered women.
 
In the fall of 2009, Jennings came under attack by social conservatives over a passage in a 1994 book he edited, One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, in which he talked about giving condom advice to a 15-year-old student who was having a relationship with an adult male. Conservatives objected to his failure to notify the student’s parents or authorities about the illegal relationship. Jennings publicly expressed regret over the way he handled the matter many years earlier, and he remained in his job despite calls for his dismissal.
 
Jennings is a founding member of the New York City Gay Hockey Association and occasionally plays left wing for the Hotshots. In August 2005, he had a heart attack on the rink, but returned to the ice two years later.
 
He lives with his partner, Jeff Davis, the managing director of Global Equities Business Strategy at Barclays, and their three dogs.
 
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