On June 25, Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie and Miami-Dade County Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, joined a 12-member panel of local students, parents and teachers to discuss school safety ahead of the upcoming academic year.
SUPERINTENDENTS ON SAFETY: @MDCPS‘ @MiamiSup & @browardschools‘ @RobertwRuncie meet to discuss school safety TONIGHT at 7 on #NBC6. Join the conversation with #SchoolSafetyNBC6 pic.twitter.com/cClIeMJVCP
— NBC 6 South Florida (@nbc6) June 25, 2018
The issue of school safety has been at the forefront of discussion in South Florida education following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting on February 14.
Both superintendents discussed their plans for next year in order to keep schools as safe as possible.
“School resource officers and an armed officer will be deployed in every school in Broward County,” stated Superintendent Runcie.
The school resource officers and armed officers will help to prevent any violence at school and protect the school in case of a shooting.
“Bullying and violence are mental health issues,” said Runcie, “Bullying is kids acting out for attention, connection, love”
“We need to provide certified mental health across the board, regardless if it is an elementary, middle school, or high school,” said Superintendent Carvalho.
Deploying mental health professionals at an early age will help identify at-risk students at an early age and get them the help they need. Mental health can be an issue at any age and according to Carvalho it is a “moral priority.”
“We are already looking at some student’s cases, but we need to recognize the pressure young people face,” said Carvalho, “We need to provide external agencies for social and emotional support”
Looking at individual cases can get students the help they need before it is too late. Often times, students and parents know they need help but don’t know where to turn to, so providing them with professionals and external agencies can assist them in dealing with the issues they are facing.
“To ensure teacher safety, we have a zero tolerance for not enforcing school protocol,” said Superintendent Runcie, “Lock doors to classrooms and doors to buildings and gates during school.”
The school protocol is designed to keep students and teachers safe in school. Following the protocol can prevent dangerous activity from taking place.
“We are taking a rear view mirror look and planning better,” said Carvalho, “This is a not a school violence issue or a street violence issue. It is an issue of community violence.”
Unfortunately, school is not the only place where students are getting shot. Earlier this month a 6-year-old shot in the leg during a cookout and last week a 15-year-old was shot and killed. Lots of times, students feel safer in school than they do in their own neighborhood.
“It is not one solution, but a portfolio of opportunities we need to create,” said Runcie.
Some of the opportunities Runcie wants to create are and improved PROMISE program (a program designed to help address student behavior), access to intervention and support and a new unit focused climate and school discipline.
“We need admission that there is a problem, aggressive collaboration, and out of school programs,” said Carvalho.
In order to ensure school safety, communities need to work together and reach beyond the scope of school. It takes the combined effort of the superintendents, law officers, parents, social media, and society to make schools safe. It is also important for students to be aware of digital citizenship: think about it before clicking it, posting it, or sharing it.
If you see something suspicious report it to: (305) 995-COPS.
Source:: The Harbinger