What He Learned from School Safety Meeting

More than 100 citizens attended the recent community meeting to discuss school safety in the Avon Lake City School District (Ohio).  Highlights of the two-hour discussion are available on the district’s website.  In a candid interview with Avon Lake Superintendent Bob Scott, I asked him what he learned.  His response:  “Providing people with information is not always enough.  Like many other important topics, school safety requires a two-way conversation.  My overall takeaway from our discussion is that most of the public concern was focused on the mental health aspect of school safety.  Our citizens understand that we have to be able to identify students who need our help in order to prevent an incident like the one that tragically occurred in Parkland, Florida.  This, of course, does not discount the importance of safety plans and safe facilities.  Avon Lake and school districts across the country have planned, implemented, re-evaluated and continuously modified safety plans even prior to Columbine.  What we have learned is that barriers and drills may reduce the possibility of a crisis and may reduce casualties during a crisis, but relationships and communication are our best safety plan to avert a crisis.”

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