Northview Public Schools is taking a proactive stance on school safety. We use two sources to guide us in our work of ensuring that our learning community is safe and that we are all effectively prepared. The first source is a collaborative report from the Secret Service and the Department of Education, titled “The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States“, and the second is a more recent report, “Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America.“(PDF)
The data contained in these reports present the clearest message—that prevention cannot be oversold as the most effective and certain strategy to prevent violence on a school campus. Prevention entails more than security measures. It requires a change in mindset and policy that is not based on reaction to a gunman entering a school, but rather to what can be done beforehand. It requires change in a school’s culture.
Being bullied at school was a common experience shared by perpetrators of school violence in the Safe School Initiative study, and one that Northview, along with most public school districts, has worked diligently to address with students. In addition, we have established partnerships over the past two years with Pine Rest and Spectrum Health to provide professional development for our internal Mental Health Team and training for school office personnel to help them recognize signs of struggle in our students and families.
In the fall of 2016, Northview implemented a social/emotional program at Crossroads Middle School. This program was expanded to Highlands the following year, and in the summer of 2017, the Task Force on Health and Well-Being of Middle and High School Students was established. Additionally, this school year we created a district-level position (Education Specialist) to coordinate district services for truancy, homelessness, foster care and other situations that require wrap-around support for students and families. This position also oversees behavioral interventions such as restorative circles, risk assessments and mental health services.
These combined efforts are one way that Northview is being proactive in preventing violence on its school campuses. Please look for our next message about school safety on April 16. In the meantime, make plans to attend the Community Safety Summit on May 1, where solution-minded leaders will discuss ways to promote community safety. As always, we welcome your feedback, concerns and ideas. Thank you.