President Barack Obama presented a sweeping set of gun control recommendations on Wednesday, 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 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., this issue has been at the forefront of conversations across the country, including Northeast Ohio. School districts from North Canton 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.
School Board President David Tryon said in an email that the Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools are already ahead of Obama’s executive actions regarding school safety, including having a school resource officer. Find the full list of executive actions, which can go into effect immediately without congressional approval, on the New York Times’ website.
After the shooting in Connecticut in December, Superintendent Scot Prebles reminded the community of the district’s ongoing safety measures. School entrances are locked daily, and visitors must be buzzed in to enter.
The district also conducts annual drills for local emergency forces that in recent years have simulated an active shooter situation. Staff and emergency responders are not told what the drill will include, which helps test everyone’s first reactions.
A message sent to the community from Prebles in December added that the district also conducts regular lockdown drills, and staff members are trained for crisis situations.
Additionally, the district and the local police recently received a grant to assess and improve safety in the schools. The grant allowed the district to add more video surveillance and upgrade locking systems where necessary.