Submitted by Dr. Kathy K. Burns, Superintendent
Nassau County School District
March 29, 2018 3:49 p.m.
The recent events in Broward County created concern, chaos, and calls for change throughout our country. School is the one place students should feel safe. The priority of legislators, local leaders, and law enforcement quickly became “students and their safety!” Safe schools has been a priority for the Nassau County School District since the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. The district has made plans to upgrade locks, add fencing, secure/streamline entrances, add cameras, and much more. In the past 2 weeks, we have met with Chief Hurley and Sheriff Leeper to review current safety procedures and opportunities for improvements.
The passage of Senate Bill 7026 includes a list of requirements for local school districts. These include:
- District School Safety Specialist
- Active shooter training
- By August 1, 2018, each school district must complete a security risk assessment for each public school campus
- By September 1, 2018, each school should establish a threat assessment team with expertise in mental health counseling, academic instruction, law enforcement and school administration that will coordinate resources, assessments, and interventions
- One school safety officer at each school at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year
While we are grateful that our legislators provided additional funding in the areas of mental health and safe schools, these funds will not be sufficient. The cost of resource officers alone is estimated at over $1M. However, we will review our budget and make the necessary changes for prioritizing safety.
Fortifying our schools is important; however, the most important key to safer schools that we cannot ignore is – Relationships/Mental Health. Every student must have a meaningful relationship with a caring adult. In Nassau County we’re blessed to live in communities that care. We have teachers, staff members, and volunteers who invest their time and resources to make our students and learning communities better. As educators, we spend much of our time reviewing data and making plans for improving instruction for every student. Just as we target instruction, we must ALL be deliberate and targeted in our approach to meeting the mental health needs of students.
The Nassau County School District has made SAFETY A PRIORITY. The district has already begun the work to make our schools safer, comply with the requirements of Senate Bill 7026, and address the mental health needs of students.
Our priority – SAFE SCHOOLS