School Safety Is Not Optional

Creating an environment where all students and staff feel safe is a fundamental requirement for our schools. Improvements require unique, campus-specific plans created and implemented by security professionals. It’s time for a change. 

We should prioritize safety as follows:

Active shooter risk analysis and corrective action

  • Solving this issue requires the perspective of security experts for each individual school who will design and implement security plans. The first step is the assessment of exposure to potential active shooter threats through immediate evaluation by qualified, licensed, and trained experts in the fields of site and human security.  Assessments will deliver comprehensive reports based on individual site risks taking in to account unique building layouts, locations, student traffic, and many other factors for each campus.
  • Assessments will provide recommended corrective measures including a comprehensive evaluation of existing security measures, priority solutions, and concurrent evaluation of Federal and State grants available today to fund assessments and implementation of recommended improvements.
  • State Education Code for active shooters doesn’t go far enough and we can’t wait for something to happen before we act, it’s time to assess and correct now.

Facility improvements before sports complexes

  • Bathrooms. Fix them with existing bond money. Now.
  • Air conditioning. For all schools based on re-evaluation, assessment, and prioritization by location, facility, and need.
  • Lead in the water. Remove all lead from water. Now. Using existing bond money. We should engage with nonprofits that work to deliver clean water to 3rd world countries and partner where possible. This provides win-win opportunities for solving a real problem while providing students with the opportunity to engage in innovative solutions our local partners provide to others. If we can deliver clean water to the nation of Fiji for pennies on the dollar, we should be able to improve water in our local schools. And where needed, prioritize the removal of lead plumbing. We’ve talked about it for $4.9B in bond funding, it’s time to get on with it.
  • Accountability. All facility improvements must be managed by the board that authorizes spending and negotiates and approves contracts. An oversight that reviews costs, contracts, warranties, and performance for contracted services is needed now.

Bullying

  • The paradigm shift starts with the adults. Bullying has many faces and requires us to take a hard look at the root causes of bullying: hopelessness, fear, depression, anxiety, isolation, domestic violence, sexual pressures, communication skills, loneliness, conflict resolution and avoidance, economic hardship, homelessness, acceptance, tolerance, personal maturity.
  • These are only a part of the root causes that are now driving students to the highest levels of suicide in the history of our county. And it’s also resulting in a tragic and rising threat of mass shootings. 
  • The threats of bullying and domestic violence have a significant impact on our kids’ ability to learn. We must put our own biases and differences aside and lead by demonstrating what an engaged and caring community looks and acts like.
  • If elected, I would propose to establish a community forum to engage and deploy existing community partners, faith-based and non-faith based, that are currently providing programs for our at-risk communities and children.
  • I would encourage retired seniors and teachers that have years of life and education experience to partner with paid teachers as stakeholders to help our kids. It can’t be done by teachers, counselors, administration, government programs, or even parents alone.
  • We ALL have a stake in the future of our kids. If we come together and demonstrate that we can set aside our differences and work together for the common good of our communities, we accomplish anything.