President Barack Obama presented a sweeping set of gun control recommendations last week, with many focused directly on increasing safety measures in schools.
According to the Politics K-12 blog, the proposals signal a shift in federal priorities—the proposals ask for increases in school safety and mental health counseling funding, areas the administration has sought to cut in the budget in recent years.
Check out the Politics K-12 post for a more in-depth look at the proposals, which includes creating model emergency response plans for institutions like schools and providing $50 million for training for professionals like social workers and counselors who plan to work with young adults.
The full text of the plan can also be found on the White House website.
The local school safety conversation
In the month since the , this issue has been at the forefront of conversations across the country, including Northeast Ohio. School districts from Twinsburg to Lakewood to Mentor have taken the issue on, opting to strengthen their ID policy for visitors and looking for ways to identify students that need extra support.
Solon also has been pro-active in making sure students are safe, school officials said.
Immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Solon Schools officials got to work re-assessing their security plans. The school board and other school leaders met with Police Chief Chris Viland and put together a list of items to be addressed.
That list was communicated to parents and includes a number of additional security measures and ideas officials plan to pursue.
- Re-Evaluate Building Security With Consultant: Immediately commission a re-evaluation of our buildings and security with the national school safety consultant who has worked with us previously on our security planning.
- New Director of Safety: Create a new position of district Director of Safety & Security to provide professional guidance and direction to our day-to-day operations related to school safety and security. It is clear to us that we need expertise beyond what is currently available on our staff.
- Architectural changes to school buildings: Make architectural changes to our school buildings, including, but not limited to, entry points, which make them more secure.
- School-day police presence: Work and plan with city officials as we begin school-day police protection and presence in each building and on school grounds.
- Re-enforce current security rules: More strictly enforce the security measures we already have in place.
- Practice safety drills more regularly: Practice the safety drills in our schools with more regularity and at different times of the school day so students and staff are prepared for action regardless of what time of day an emergency occurs.
Regano said he plans to provide regular updates on the progress of security-related issues at school board meetings and in regular communications with parents.
"There’s nothing more important that the security of all of us in the buildings, no matter what the age," he said.