EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, on Monday announced that the U.S. Department of Education has approved a $1.5 million School Emergency Response to Violence grant for a South Texas school district still mourning the murder of 19 students and two teachers.

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District can use the SERV funds for mental health services for staff and students, and overtime pay for teachers, counselors, and security staff, Gonzales said. The money can also go toward additional summer programming at the schools. 

“I am proud to see such significant funding go towards expanding mental health services, bolstering emergency transportation, and increasing school safety,” Gonzales said, praising the Department of Education for its continued support for the districts and the victims of the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary.

“Thank you for the Department of Education’s continued support for Robb Elementary School and the Uvalde CISD. We are now one step closer to rebuilding our community after this horrific tragedy,” he said. Gonzales represents an area that stretches from El Paso to Uvalde to San Antonio.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas. (Border Report graphic)

Separately, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, co-authored a House resolution declaring gun violence a public health crisis.

HR 1165 calls for a holistic approach by the federal government to ensure the safety of children. That includes violence prevention, a Surgeon General report on firearms injuries, and a pledge from House members to end gun violence that has become a public health crisis.

“Today’s resolution acknowledges the severity of this issue, urging our nation to designate the appropriate federal resources to the tragically high number of communities impacted by gun violence while also working to prevent the next tragedy,” Escobar said. “We must commit to ending this public health crisis so that future generations of Americans can live worry-free from the impacts of gun violence.”

Chief co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-New York, echoed the sentiment. “Addressing the daily horrific acts of violence that take the lives of our children and loved ones should be among our nation’s top priorities,” he said.