According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Violence and trauma in schools and communities can affect students’ overall health and well-being as well as their educational outcomes.” I think this is something we can pretty much all grasp, as children are much more vulnerable than the rest of us.
When students in general, regardless of age, feel threatened in their neighborhoods or institutions, the issue lies within the system rather than simply the people involved. The department proceeds to explain,
“According to a 2012 report from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 74 percent of public schools recorded one or more violent incidents of crime in the 2009-2010 academic year, and 23 percent of schools reported bullying among students on a daily or weekly basis. While trends have shown a steady overall decrease in crime and violence in schools over recent years, the current level of crime and violence in our schools is unacceptable.”
So, what’s the plan, Obama?
Apparently, the goal of the comprehensive plan titled, “Now’s The Time,” is to to help protect schools and communities by reducing gun violence and providing necessary resources to these schools and communities.
“The plan aims to help prepare schools for emergencies, create positive school climates, improve mental health services, and prevent violence as well as provide supports to students who are exposed to violence. Other activities include collecting data on indicators of school safety and providing guidance on school discipline policies.”
In preparation for school emergencies, it is the job of the government to make sure that these institutions are able to provide security to the students and faculty. Whether it is providing these places with a group of handheld radios, security guards, a surveillance system or anything else, even the simplest of precautions could provide drastic improvements. Of course, there are always ways around the system, but prevention is the first step to identifying weak areas and ultimately fixing the system.
President Obama has presented a Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal, which includes money budgeted for bullying intervention, supporting programs to improve children’s and students’ mental and physical health, trauma support services, and restoring the learning environment in the case of natural disaster or in the event of a school violence attack. This would apply to not only elementary schools, but also middle schools, high schools and universities as well.
In light of past attacks such as Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and more, it is nice to know that our government is doing something to change the way we look not only at the safety of institutions but also how we have begun to feel about mainstream education itself.