What is the Education Department Hiding About School Safety?

Posted by on October 6, 2010

Listen.  Do you want to know a secret?  Do you promise not to tell?

No this isn’t the school safety version of the Beatles song.  But this tune comes to mind when I looked at the following slide from a presentation by Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools Office. 

The model was included in an August 2010 webinar by Mr. Jennings on Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement, as well as in his presentation at the National Prevention Network conference on September 3, 2010, in Denver.

Safe and Supportive Schools (s3) Model

Now, read the fine print:  Please do not circulate without consent from the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.  Please contact Kristen Harper (kristen.harper@ed.gov) with questions or concerns.

I have questions:

  • What is so secret about this model?  
  • Has this model for redefining federal school safety policy been approved by Congress, or does it just reflect a radical shift by the Obama Administration in how the federal government views and funds school safety? 
  • Is it because no one knows who defined this model, upon whose theories it is based, whether or not it came into existence with input from a cross-section of school and public safety professionals (school security, SROs, emergency preparedness experts in addition to prevention, bullying, and climate-skewed advisors), or if it was simply decided on by a handful of DC’s education elite bureaucrats and/or their think-tank advisors? 
  • Is it because the Education Department wants to spring it on schools AFTER states that applied for this new Safe and Supportive Schools grant got their awards so they couldn’t pull out of the grant once they saw the model?
  • Is it because this is the model for how the Department of Education wants to give “school safety scores” to schools and they don’t want it to be challenged by the education community until the system is already in place?
  • Anyone want to vote for most or all of the above?

Rest assured, I also have plenty of concerns.  They’ll be shared with more analysis on the model in upcoming posts. 

Right now, my first concern is that we don’t know the answer to the above questions, nor do we know how this model is going to be used by education agencies to give school safety scores to local school districts (a previously stated plan of Mr. Jennings and the U.S. Department of Education).

Stay tuned…

Ken Trump

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

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