Earlier today, Governor Deval Patrick released the report of the state’s Task Force on School Safety and Security. The report is a resource for school leaders and community members to enhance safety and security in preparation for the upcoming school year.
“We know that for our students to achieve at the highest level it is imperative that they feel safe at school each and every day,” said Governor Patrick. “The steps we are taking today will help school districts build or enhance safety plans that work for them. We are fortunate to live in a state where everyone recognizes the value in working together on this issue.”
29 recommendations presented by the Task Force that could be used to strengthen school safety and security were included in the report. A state-level technical assistance team has also been established. The team will offer strategies for school districts to use in improving safety and security in their schools, by helping districts create and/or enhance their safety plans.
The team will be appointed later this summer by the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services and Public Safety, and will consist of professionals from the education, mental health, and law enforcement communities, among others.
The Governor also announced a state-funded grant program that will allow school districts to apply for funds that can be used to enhance school safety and security. Fiscal Year 2015 budget dedicates $200,000 for this purpose. The Executive Office of Education will administer the grants, and will distribute a Request for Proposals in August.
A new webpage dedicated to School Safety and Security has also been set up on the Executive Office of Education website. School districts looking for resources and information related to school safety and security can find information on the webpage.
The Task Force on School Safety and Security has met regularly since January while developing school safety and security guidelines that school districts could adapt and implement. The Task Force was co-chaired by the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services and Public Safety.
“Education provides the opportunity to achieve and Governor Patrick remains committed to ensuring children in the Commonwealth learn in a safe, peaceful environment,” said Public Safety Secretary Andrea Cabral. “The Task Force on School Safety has addressed youth violence, identified gaps in service needs, and made recommendations to accomplish this Administration’s objective.”