Budget cuts put a school safety program in jeopardy, and now the Missouri School Boards’ Association is filling in the gap.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City housed the Missouri Center for Safe Schools, until the funding was cut for that program in 2009. Now the Missouri School Boards’ Association is teaming up with the Department of Public Safety to create the ‘Center for Education Safety.’
“This center would be a resource. If this school or college has a specific school safety issue that they need some assistance with or they would just like some more general guidance on policy and planning related to school safety, then they would be able to call on this center and hopefully be able to get the information and guidance that they would need,” said spokesman Brent Ghan with the Missouri School Boards’ Association.
Ghan says the MSBA is in the process of hiring two new employees to run the Center for Education Safety.
“These individuals will have a lot of expertise, obviously, in the area of safety; and school safety in particular,” Ghan said.
The workers will technically be employees of the Department of Public Safety, but will work out of the School Boards’ Associations’ offices in Jefferson City.
Ghan says the cooperation between the MSBA and the Department of Public Safety will maximize the expertise and information that can be made available to schools. The Center will work with school districts and higher education institutions on emergency planning, preparedness, safety and security.
But he says parents will have a role, too.
“We believe that school safety really is a community issue, it’s broader than the schools themselves. There’s a certain amount that schools, colleges, and universities can do to prepare for situations that may arise. But we really, with this center, really want to involve the entire community,” Ghan said.
The Center for Education Safety begins operation on September 1st.