School safety is a priority topic in every community, state, and in our nation. It is approached with an appropriate sense of urgency. At the community level, the vehicle for school safety discussions is often the school board. However, school safety cannot be the singular responsibility of the school board. Discussions about policies and practices should always include school resource officers and other law enforcement, mental health professionals, parents, educators, students, and other community members. Here are some topics for stakeholder discussion:
- Should a community task force be convened?
- What roles do various stakeholders play in ensuring the safety of students?
- Have current safety plans and policies been analyzed?
- Are emergency drills adequate?
- When is the last time a school safety assessment or audit was conducted?
- What resources exist to help us set and reach goals that help ensure student safety?
As I discuss this important issue across our state, I always describe how school and student safety encompasses prevention, preparedness, crisis response, student well-being, responsibility, and the need for ongoing and coordinated dialogue.
As we have these critical conversations I’ll note that in some instances current state statute is out of sync with best practice. I was pleased to see the Joint Education Committee sponsor legislation earlier this week that begins the work of setting a stronger state framework for school safety. I look forward to continuing to work with legislators on the bill with the understanding that every aspect of school safety must be carefully weighed at the local level.
Memos to be released on Monday, December 3:
- 2018-132: EL Screening Prior to the Beginning of School Year
- 2018-133: Monitoring of Former English Learners
- 2018-034: Wyoming Advisory Panel for Students with Disabilities