Earlier this week, the Federal Commission on School Safety (Commission) released a report detailing 93 best practices and policy recommendations for improving safety at schools.

The Commission, established after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, includes Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education), Matthew Whitaker (Acting Attorney General), Alex Azar (Secretary of Health and Human Services), and Kirstjen Nielsen (Secretary of Homeland Security). The Commission held more than a dozen meetings and listening sessions meetings and visited successful programs around the nation.   

The Commission’s report offers a holistic approach to improve school safety, ranging from supporting the social and emotional well-being of students to enhancing physical building security. The report serves as a resource guide for families, educators, law enforcement officers, health professionals, and elected leaders as they consider the best ways to prevent, mitigate, and recover from acts of violence in schools.

Secretary DeVos noted that the Commission’s work makes it clear that “there is no single policy that will make our schools safer” and that the report “provides a wide-ranging menu of best practices and resources that all state, community, and school leaders should consider while developing school safety plans and procedures that will work for their students and teachers.”

Secretary Azar stated that the “Commission’s findings show an urgent need to identify youth at risk for mental illness and connect them with needed treatment and services,” and emphasized the role that schools can play in improving mental health for children.

The report is composed of 19 chapters divided into three sections—prevent, protect and mitigate, and respond and recover. The chapters cover topics including character development, integrating mental health, primary care, family services and court-ordered treatment, effects of press coverage of mass shootings, training school personnel to help ensure student safety, best practices for school building security, and active shooter preparedness and mitigation.

The report is available here. More information about the Commission is available at the School Safety Website.


Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on 12/23/2018