School shooting incidents such as the one last Friday in Connecticut have many school officials in Missouri re-examining their school security systems.  But the head of the Missouri Center for Education Safety says incidents like that one distort the truth about school safety. .

The head of the Missouri School Boards Association’s Center for Education Safety is Paul Fennewald, a former state Homeland Security Director under Governors Blunt and Nixon.  He says schools have taken steps for a decade to make themselves safer. 

But he says it’s important to remember something at times like this–that schools are the safest places for children.  “If you look at where our children are injured or where they die, there are so many other places, ” he says, “The safest place they can be is in our schools.”  . 

Fennewald says ten times more children commit suicide than are killed in schools because they’re feeling bullied or neglected, or other factors.  He says schools and their communities need to work together to create a climate that is nurturing  and loving instead of indifferent. 

The National Center for Educational Statistics says school violence peaked in 1993.  The Center on Criminal and Juvenile Justice issued a report in 2010 saying 83%  of all public schools reported no serious violent incidents and that the number of serious violent crimes in school was half the number that happened outside of school.



Links to the Center for Education Safety and the Missouri School Boards Association:

AUDIO: Fennewald interview 11:29