The federal commission on school safety releases a report detailing 93 best practices and policy recommendations for improving safety at schools across the country.
In a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, the report offers a "holistic" approach to improving school safety. The report ranges from supporting social and emotional well-being of students, to enhancing physical building security. These recommendations are based on current efforts that are working in various states.
The federal commission on the school safety report contains 19 chapters divided into three sections: prevent, protect and mitigate, and respond and recover. The first section contains the most information, beginning with a chapter called character development and a culture of connectedness, which discusses how important it is for someone to feel connected with others, rather than isolated.
The next chapter is a rather familiar topic- cyber bullying and school safety. Recommendations in this chapter encourage federal agencies to assist states and school districts in leveraging support from existing programs that help reduce cyber bullying.
Another recommendation is for states, districts, and schools to use appropriate systems to monitor social media and mechanisms for reporting cyber bullying incidents. In section 2 of the school safety report, you can find chapters such as best practices for school building security. This chapter discusses the security of schools. One of the recommendations is for schools or school districts to establish a security management team.
Lastly, the only chapter in section 3 is the active shooter preparedness and mitigation, recommending the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as well as other agencies, to develop active shooter preparedness training guidelines for educators and administrators. It's also recommended that states require or provide funding for all school districts and individual schools to develop and provide training and exercises on comprehensive active shooter preparedness programs.
Montana's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen, was part of the panel that met with the president in Washington D.C. Tuesday, going over the plan and the recommendations set forth.
"From a rural state with a rural voice at the table here, thank you for not having it top down," Arntzen said. "This is organic, this is coming from the bottom up and it is not a mandate. All of the things that are here are going to be put into play in any fashion that can happen in Montana or any of our other very rural states.
The final report serves as a resource guide for families, educators, law enforcement officers, health professionals, and elected leaders to use as they consider the best ways to prevent, mitigate, and recover from acts of violence in schools.