The Federal Commission on School Safety released an 180-page final report in December of 2018. The massive document contains a wealth of information. Also, the Report includes three phases of security planning. The first phase, “Prevent,” contains twelve recommendations to U.S. schools. They include internet safety measures, bullying, character building, and creating better school climates.
Improved Safety Measures
The final report specifies internet safety as one area schools can improve. Proactive student monitoring will assist in responding to both cyberbullying and school threats. Two levels of resources are available to educators. First, the report mentions a federal government website offering information about bullying. Moreover, the site provides bullying-prevention training. Schools can find help at the state and local level, too. For example, school safety plans developed in Seattle, Washington and Deer Park, Texas make excellent models and case studies.
The report suggests ways to combat bullying. In fact, the report favorably discussed nationwide trends to criminalize bullying. Additionally, this report replaces Obama-era guidelines addressing discipline. The Commission hopes this will make teachers more comfortable reporting students. The Commission also says that reporting helps students get the help they need.
The report calls schools to support students’ mental health. Schools can increase trust between students and faculty. This in turn creates climates that better respond to student behavior. As a result, they can help at-risk students better themselves. Schools can restructure mental health resources to include character-building exercises. Other solutions include additional counselors and more mental health professionals. This will prepare students to make good choices. It will also help them process their emotions.
Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support
The report also gives attention to Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS). PBIS proactively manages schools or classrooms by teaching expectations, supporting good actions and responding to bad actions. Additionally, the report includes Social Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL helps students manage emotions, set positive goals, and feel and show empathy. These strategies can help schools create positive climates where students feel safe and supported.
Text by Annika Bastian