The Johns Hopkins University announced Monday that it will create a new interdisciplinary center for school safety and health, the first in the nation in higher education.

The center, announced at a conference of Education Writers Association being held this week in Baltimore, will bring together more than two dozen faculty from disciplines as diverse as education and public health to applied physics.

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The center will attempt to take a holistic approach toward what has become one of the pressing problems in schools: the safety of students, from kindergarten through undergraduate education.

Baltimore school with large immigrant population loses vital funding source

Just four years ago, more than 90 percent of students at John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle were identified as low-income — and that qualified the school for $250,000 in badly needed funds. A policy change has made that money disappear — even though the school's student population is no less needy.

“All students deserve to go to school in a safe and healthy environment where they can thrive,” said Christopher C. Morphew, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education.

Morphew said too often money is spent on physical safety rather than other issues that are just as important to creating a healthy school environment where students can be successful, including suicide, trauma and bullying.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools is designed to give schools, communities and policymakers tools they can use to make schools healthy and safe. One of the center’s projects will attempt to use “computational power” to develop a tool that can be used to help school leaders.

In the next few months, the center will release new research and best practices for school leaders.

Baltimore Sun reporter Talia Richman contributed to this article.

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