The Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS), which is a division of the U.S. Department of Education, is charged with administering, coordinating, and recommending policy related to the prevention of drugs and violence in schools. OSDFS provides financial assistance for activities and programs designed to prevent drug use and violence and to foster the health and well-being of students in all grades and through college. It operates under the direction of the Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education and the advisement of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Advisory Committee, which was created by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. These entities provide direction, coordination, and leadership for five major elements of OSFS strategy: (1) health, mental health, environmental health, and physical education (HMHEHPE); (2) state-level drug and violence prevention programs; (3) national-level drug and violence prevention programs; (4) character and civic education; and (5) policy and cross-cutting programs.
The HMHEHPE element, following on the heels of the Title Vof the Elementary and Secondary School Education Act, administers programs that promote the health and well-being for students and families. It provides grants for counseling, physical education, and related programs.
Title IVof the Elementary and Secondary School Education Act authorized financial assistance to state and local entities implementing drug and violence prevention programs and activities in K-12 schools as well as in higher education. Nationally, drug and violence prevention programs are authorized under Title IV, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Community Act (SDFSCA) of the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994. OSDFS provides grants for model alcohol and drug prevention programs on campuses, coalitions to prevent and respond to drug and alcohol use and to prevent high-risk drinking on campuses, school-based drug testing, mentoring programs, and additional challenge grants.
The Character and Civic Education (CCE) group provides programming and grants related to character and civic education. “We the People” is a civic education program that promotes civic competence among elementary and secondary students. Policy and cross-cutting programs provide discretionary grants for cooperative and collaborative prevention programs, as well as for various types of emergency assistance.
In addition, OSDFS administers several provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Act that were amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. These include the Gun-Free Schools Act, provisions related to the transfer of student disciplinary records, the Pro-Children Act, and the Unsafe School Choice Option.
On its website, OSDFS provides a wealth of information related to drugs and violence. This material includes fact sheets on a number of topics, more-detailed publications and reports, online courses and survey assessment tools, and links to other entities related to drug, alcohol, and violence prevention.
- Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osdfs/index.html