In addition to providing continued school safety grant funding in the budget, policymakers adopted two important school safety initiatives in a separate school code bill.
Threat Assessment Teams
One initiative supporting the creation of threat assessment teams in every public school builds on the success of the Safe2Say Something program. Threat assessment teams are intended to assess problem situations in schools and take steps to prevent violence. Establishing threat assessment teams was among the school safety recommendations included in a 2018 PSEA report based on ideas shared by about 1,000 PSEA members.
“Preventing violence in schools before it starts is, by far, the best way to keep our public schools safe,” Askey said. “Establishing threat assessment teams in public schools and creating connections between those teams and the successful Safe2Say program is an excellent step in that direction.”
The other school safety initiative calls for training and professional development for educators to implement trauma-informed learning approaches in the classroom that will improve the social-emotional growth of students and the well-being of educators.
“The impact of trauma on students is a rising epidemic,” Askey said. “Many students experience traumatic events that can shape their lives forever — from bullying or neighborhood violence to an unstable home life or homelessness to the disastrous impacts of addiction. With the right supports, students can overcome these adverse childhood consequences and thrive.
“This bill provides educators with guidance, supports, and training for implementing trauma-informed approaches in their classrooms as well as supports for the impact of secondary trauma on their own lives and professional practice.”