As students and teachers return to school this year, they have more to think about than academics. Several of the articles in the August 24 Rothman Reports touch on school safety issues.
Planning for school lockdowns has become a part of teacher preparation for the school year. Some teachers are sewing or buying cheerful “lockdown curtains”. Others are putting together “drill bags” which give students something to do during long lockdowns. One district collected lollipops so the experience would be a sweet one for students. After experiencing a lockdown, another teacher put together a booklet to help teachers respond to “shootings and other traumas”.
The Department of Homeland Security is offering $1.8 million for
“School Age Trauma Training”. This would allow schools to offer a course on mass casualty survival techniques to help the wounded last until first responders arrive. They hope this course will become as common as CPR training. Embedded in this article is a video, which shows the variety of methods being used across the country to deal with school safety issues.
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas recently announced $5.7 million in school safety grants. This amount includes $1.8 million for Santa Fe High School, site of a recent school shooting. Santa Fe High will establish a “resiliency center” to help with mental health problems, especially those caused by the shooting.
Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, is considering allowing states to use federal funding to purchase firearms for teachers under Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants. The $1 billion student support program is part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives funds to the country’s poorest school districts. She believes that the purchase of guns and firearm training could be authorized as improving school conditions. Although the Department of Education considered offering guidance to the states before the school year, it is apparently weighing the political and legal ramifications of this action. In March of this year, Congress passed a school safety bill, but specifically prohibited the use of money for firearms.