Earlier today, President Obama introduced a new plan to keeps guns out of the wrong hands, make schools safer, and increase access to mental health services. “While reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge,” President Obama said during the announcement. “Protecting our children from harm shouldn’t be a divisive one,” he said.
Admitting that we won’t be able to stop every violent act, the President introduced a plan that includes four common-sense steps the country can take right now to protect our children and communities:
- Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of the dangerous hands;
- Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common sense steps to reduce gun violence;
- Making schools safer; and
- Increasing access to mental health services.
The President’s plan to provide new resources that communities can use to make schools safer echoes what educators have been saying they need in order to protect students, including:
- Hire school resource officers — specially trained police officers who not only enforce the law but act as teachers and mentors.
- Hire school psychologists, social workers, and counselors to support students struggling with mental health issues and help avert crises before they occur.
- Purchase school safety equipment, like security cameras and secure locking systems.
The Administration will also work with school districts across the country to ensure that every school has a high-quality emergency plan in place, and the President’s plan includes a proposal to help 8,000 schools put in place proven strategies to reduce bullying, drug abuse, violence, and other problem behaviors, and to gather and share best practices on school discipline.
Visit ED’s Readiness Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center for resources already available, including Creating and Updating School Emergency Management Plans.
Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education