A Holistic Approach To Safety, Security & Peace-of-Mind
By securing our Eastmont School facilities and connecting law enforcement, students, staff and community in positive and productive ways, we can build a culture that deters violence from our schools without causing unnecessary harm to our students.
Eastmont School District has $500,000 set aside for two school resource officers and security. This money has been earmarked for almost two years while the debate over its use continues to linger. With active shooter training happening in the valley and school shootings hitting closer to home, safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Unfortunately, there is no national standard for active shooter drills or training; they range from actors with fake blood and life like weapons to teachers locking classroom doors and dialoguing with students.
I haven’t yet found the research that indicates these drills actually keep our schools safer. In the case of the Parkland shooting, an active shooter drill was conducted the month prior to the incident and there is speculation that the drill may have given the shooter an advantage. Research is telling us that much of the drills and training being done nationwide may be more harmful than good for both students and staff. The simulation-style drills are certainly beneficial for law enforcement and emergency personnel, but they are shown to be detrimental to students and staff.
As a mom, it was heartbreaking to have that conversation with my daughter, who came home from a school lockdown drill anxious and afraid. This was a low key “lock the door” style drill, and she was frightened. However, having spent many years as a lifeguard/first responder, I know firsthand the value and necessity of training to respond in emergency situations. So, where does that leave us? Training and preparing district staff and emergency personnel to respond appropriately in an active shooter incident is crucial. However, that should only be a part of what we are doing.
A focus on the culture of students may offer greater, long-term effects. Research shows that investments in building positive relationships, meeting mental health needs, and creating an environment with positive climate or culture lead to safer schools. These schools have fewer instances of behavior and discipline issues, a drop in risky behaviors, improved academics and these effects have even been shown to be long lasting!
As a board member, my goals are to secure and connect. I will help to ensure that our schools are safeguarded and prepared and that we are using the most effective systems to identify potential threats. I will help guide our district toward the more effective solutions of building positive relationships with students and families and building a positive culture in our schools. Additionally, I would support and foster connections with local law enforcement for on-going training, bringing officers into the schools under positive circumstances, and pursuing the legislation the current board has started to making it legal for officers to accept free meals from the companies that provide food services in the schools. This legislation would provide an avenue to bring law enforcement into the schools as both a deterrent to violence and an opportunity for students to build positive relationships with our local law enforcement.
There is work to be done and I’m committed to mindful and holistic approaches backed by sound research and fiscal responsibility. I’d love to hear your thoughts and always appreciate new sources of information and research that can help to make informed decisions. Let’s talk.