Grant For Pine Ridge Amidst Suicide Crisis

May 17, 2016

Crazy Horse School is receiving a federal grant worth $107,631 to help students cope with suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This is the third grant from the US Department of Education to Pine Ridge schools after tribal leaders declared a state of emergency following a string of suicides.

Project SERV grants target schools where kids experience significant violent or traumatic events. The latest funding adds two counselors at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee to help restore the learning environment.

Secretary John King leads the US Department of Education.

"There’s no simple solution here. Yes, students need more socio-emotional support; this grant will help with that," King says. "But part of what’s driving the hopelessness students feel is a lack of economic opportunity, a crisis of substance abuse in the community – so what’s really needed is comprehensive solutions."

King says that means leaders across schools and communities must collaborate to combat the factors contributing to record rates of suicide and attempted suicide. The Secretary visited schools on Pine Ridge late last week. 

"When you talk to the students, to the teachers, and to the elders, one of the things we heard was the ways in which learning the Lakota language, having those opportunities to receive culturally-responsive instruction, were really benefiting the students, giving them a more positive sense of self, and hope not only for themselves but for their community as well," King says. 

The latest funding for Crazy Horse School brings the Project SERV grant total to more than $650,000 for Pine Ridge.