Archived Information

U.S. Department of Education Awards Nearly $50,000 to Help Colorado's Aurora Public Schools Recover from Theater Shooting

Jo Ann Webb, (202) 401-1576,

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students, formerly the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, has awarded Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Colo., a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant totaling nearly $50,000. The grant will provide assistance for ongoing recovery efforts following a deadly shooting during the midnight premiere of the movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

“This senseless attack profoundly impacted students and educators throughout the city, and these resources will help the Aurora community provide special care to those who need it,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We want to support this community as it continues to recover and reconnect after this horrific event.”

Project SERV provides critical support to districts and institutions of higher education that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to respond, recover, and re-establish a safe environment for students. The Office of Safe and Healthy Students has awarded more than $29 million to 97 grantees, including Aurora Public Schools, since the grant program began in 2001.

On Thursday, July 20, 2012, a lone gunman opened fire in the Century 16 multiplex theater. He shot and killed 12 people, including a recent school district graduate, and wounded 58 more. According to Aurora Public Schools, more than 300 of its students and staff were affected, including 50 students from Gateway High School, some of whom were injured, and 10 students from Hinkley High School, who experienced the shooting spree in the theater. With high school registration scheduled for the following week, and the new academic year’s launch scheduled for the week of August 6, 2012, the teaching and learning environment was immediately affected, and continues to be impacted by the tragedy.

Aurora Public Schools applied for and received a Project SERV Immediate Services grant in order to support efforts taken by the district to restore the learning environment while also providing critical assistance to students and staff.