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School Safety and Mental Wellness

School safety and mental wellness are non-negotiables.

First, we need to continue working closely with our local law enforcement agencies to increase the presence of school resource deputies on all of our school campuses.

Our district has established single point entrances on every school campus with a buzzer system on all campuses hardening access to schools. Although most schools are gated, some of the gates remain propped open inadvertently, which is an area for improvement. One suggestion to address this concern is to install alarms on gates to remind people when the gate is not fully secure. Establishing safety protocols has been and will continue to be a priority for our district.

Second, we have to implement the mandates put forth under the school safe bill. In part it tell us,

- students must list any referrals to mental health services at the time of enrollment

- districts are expected to establish a student crime watch program through which students can anonymously report suspicious activities to authorities.

- to set up a threat assessment team to prevent potentially dangerous situations. The teams  reports their findings regularly to the Office of Safe Schools.

Third, is the issue of mental wellness. Mental health supports such as social workers, counselors and behavior intervention specialists, providing parent/guardian forums, putting in place behavior-driven intervention programs such as anger- and aggression-management strategies, bullying prevention, and partnering with local mental health facilities all truly work when trying to help everyone in a school building reach students. We have to help students develop strong academic, social and emotional roots without injecting a push for political purposes. It is critical we do all we can based on data, with parent permission, and in collaboration with parents and guardians.

Together we can reach and teach every child, every day, in every way.

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