(The Center Square) – The state wants Ohio schools to focus on the physical and emotional well-being of students in order to provide a complete safety structure.
The Ohio School Safety Center, created by Gov. Mike DeWine, developed a new framework for overall school safety. The framework was established with the help from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction services.
“There is nothing more important than the well-being of our kids, and this framework outlines strategies that schools can implement to help ensure a safe learning environment and positive school climate,” DeWine said.
The state’s framework centers around three areas – use evidence-based practices to help schools develop an encompassing approach that engages school staff, students and families; create role assignments for key personnel in developing a complete safety plan including principals, counselors, school security and law enforcement; and develop a list of short-term, intermediate and long-term results the framework will deliver to support every child in a more holistic manner.
The idea is the new plan ties the ideas together from all three of the state agencies for physical and emotional school safety that also ties in current plans in place at schools.
“The spirit of cooperation among state agencies putting this framework together is a great example of the type of effort needed at the local level,” said Emily Torok, executive director of the OSSC. “School safety and positive school climate are achieved by comprehensive and collaborative efforts of all school staff and relevant community members. It takes consistent and effective approaches to prevent violence and promote learning.”
DeWine has pushed hard for physical school safety since a Texas elementary school shooting in May that resulted in 21 deaths.
As previously reported by The Center Square, DeWine last week announced more than 900 schools across the state will share in nearly $70 million to enhance safety measurers.
The money is part of the K-12 Safety Grant Program that uses federal money allocated for COVID-19 relief to provide safety upgrades. A total of $112 million was part of a bill DeWine signed in December, more than doubling the program’s initial funding of $105 million that was part of the state budget.
DeWine also made safety a significant part of his recent state of the state address where he proposed the state paying for a school resource officer in every school across Ohio.