“Our schools are safe,” says Superintendent Burns

By Anne H. Oman
February 26, 2018 7:25 a.m.

Nassau County Administration Building Photo courtesy of Chris Whelan

“Our schools are safe, “ Nassau County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathy Knight Burns told the Fernandina Observer in a phone interview, adding: “Since the beginning of the school year we have been meeting regularly and working on various items to make them safer. There’s always more that we can do to make them safer.”

Armed School Resource Officers are at every high school and middle school in the county, and detailed safety plans are in place, she said.

She added that she is meeting with the Sheriff next week to see how we can move forward on school safety.

“Mental health has to be addressed,” she said.

She said that school personnel actively look for warning signs of mental health problems and refer students who show such signs to mental health services, and that the school system will be exploring ways to make improve mental health screening.

Dr. Burns said she knows the school superintendent in Broward County and that that district has a mulit-million- dollar program called “I Am Listening” to screen for mental health problems.

“That young man obviously fell through the cracks,” she said of the Parkland shooter.

Dr. Burns expressed reservations about President Trump’s call to arm teachers.

“As an educator, I think that’s one more thing to ask teachers to do and be responsible for,” she said.

Asked about whether students here were becoming activist in the mode of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas students who are pushing for an assault weapons ban, Dr. Burns said she had seen no evidence of it.

Editor’s Note: Anne H. Oman relocated to Fernandina Beach from Washington, D.C. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Star, The Washington Times, Family Circle and other publications. We thank Anne for her contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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