School safety begins with better care and attention for every student, especially mental health care. The safety threats our students face are not typically external. 75% of active shooters in our schools are school aged and current or former students. To address the heartbreaking regularity of school violence, we must decrease class size to deepen relationship between educators and students, bring our student to mental health professional ratios to the recommended 250:1 ratio (or better), and implement threat assessment guidelines. These steps, when paired with an active role in stemming student access to guns, have proven effective in reducing gun violence in schools.
When we practice safety drills in our schools, they should be announced as drills so every student and teacher knows there is no immediate threat. Announced drills are just as effective, while not inducing panic and stress in the same way as unannounced drills. No student should cower in fear in their classroom.
More officers and security personnel, increasing the number of guns in our schools, are not the solution. DPS has already implemented the recommended access control and interior door lock solutions proven to reduce risk.
School districts serve the safety of their students when they are active in gun storage and safety education. Households that use safe storage to prevent child access to guns reduce accidental death/injury in the home and potential for violence in our schools. DPS needs to be active in communicating with its families in how they can safely secure weapons they may choose to have in their homes.
Board members must also be active in advocating, at the local and state level, for gun violence prevention policies such as: Red Flag laws (such as CO recently passed), Responsible Storage & Child Access Prevention Laws, Responsible Storage Public Awareness Programs, Raising the Minimum Age to Purchase All Semi-Automatic Firearms to 21, and Background Checks. These specific policies are research backed and endorsed by Everytown USA and Moms Demand Action