EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley received a $5.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help area children.

The goal, according to UTRGV, is to help kindergarten through high school senior students by putting UTRGV Psychology interns in schools.

The program will focus on specific concerns following mass shootings at schools, such as the untold damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, stress from school bullying, and other anxieties.

“We’re school-based mental health professionals and so we’re already located in the schools where the kids are,” said Nancy Razo, UTRGV professor of practice, Human Development & School Services. “That also lends itself to being able to work interdisciplinary, not only with school psychology, social work, and counseling but with the teachers. If the kids are already taking medication to talk to the nurse when you’re inside the school building, you don’t need special permissions to do that.”

The project will partner with Brownsville ISD, Edcouch-Elsa ISD, McAllen ISD, PSJA ISD, Sharyland ISD, Harlingen CISD, and Mission CISD to train 120 school psychology, counseling, and social work graduate students.