Colorado will allocate millions in surplus marijuana tax revenue to create a bully prevention grant, putting the recently legalized state industry to educational use.
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) will grant 50 schools up to $40,000 each to invest in bully prevention programs, KMGH reports.
“It’s a lot of money,” said Dr. Adams Collins, the education grant coordinator for the CDE. “It’s a great opportunity for schools to apply and make sure the social and emotional wellness of their students is taken care of.”
In November 2015, Colorado voters opted to have their state keep a $66 million surplus in marijuana tax revenue instead of disbursing it back to residents and marijuana growers, CNN Money reports.
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A portion of that surplus is now being used to combat bullying in Colorado schools.
“As far as we know, we’re the only state that is providing such significant funds to prevent bullying in schools,” Collins said. “We are excited to have these funds.”
The CDE will implement evidence-based programs that have been proven to work, forming committees comprised of teachers, staff and parents.
“It’s more than just teachers doing lessons,” Collins added. “It’s about changing the culture of the school so that it’s a warm environment. So it’s somewhere that bullying can’t thrive.”
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The deadline for Colorado schools to apply for the grant is Oct. 21. The CDE will distribute the grant funds to the 50 winners in January 2017.
A whopping 70.6 percent of young people nationwide admit to having seen bullying occur in their schools, and 70.4 percent of school staff attest to seeing bullying behaviors as well, according to Stop Bullying.
And 28 percent of students in Middle School and High School say that they have experienced bullying first-hand while 30 percent of young people admit that they have bullied others.
Of those who are bullied, only between 20 to 30 percent actually ever notify adults.
Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. The state’s marijuana industry began legally selling in 2014.
Legalizing recreational marijuana will be on the ballot in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada in the November election, Business Insider reports.