U.S. School Safety Head Says Adults Don’t Know What is Going On in Schools

Posted by on October 6, 2010

We know students need to be involved in school safety planning. 

But according to a quote in the Keen New Service, a national gay legal and political news service, Kevin Jennings, the Education Department’s Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug Free Schools, apparently believes they are the ONLY people who know what is going on in schools.

“This is a major step forward,” said Jennings, “ . . . because the only people who really know what’s going on in the schools are the kids.”

School Climate Survey Pilot Grant Program Awarded

That’s why the U.S. Department of Education announced a pilot project of $38.8 million in grants to 11 states as a part of its new Safe and Supportive School program spearheaded by Mr. Jennings.  This much smaller grant for a handful of states is being piloted after the Department and Congress eliminated $295 million in state formula school safety grants distributed annually to schools nationwide.

The grants require states to work with local school districts to implement in-depth surveys of students, family, and staff about school safety issues.  Grant money will then go to the schools that the students say have the biggest problems, according to Mr. Jennings, who in the past has said that schools will also get assigned “school safety scores” which they must publicly post.

Directing funds based on student feedback, he noted, is a new approach to school safety.

The Department awarded this first round of grants for this program on Friday.

My Take

I wonder if the students, since they are supposedly the only ones who know what is going on these schools, will also implement and manage the grants, including all the paperwork?

Student surveys and student involvement are important. My advice to the U.S. Department of Education is to encourage schools to  engage students in school safety planning.  

But don’t slap in the face the hard-working school administrators, school security officers, school resource officers, school safety and crisis teams, and others who work each day to keep our schools safe and secure. 

They know more than you’re quoted as giving them credit for knowing.  They also have great memories at election time.

Ken Trump

Visit School Security Blog at:  http://www.schoolsecurityblog.com

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