Communities Building Safer Schools

EVERY CHILD SHOULD FEEL SAFE in school. Fear of violence should not intrude on learning. Governor Locke is working to ensure that school is a place to learn, not a place to fear.

“It isn't just the violence, but the threat of violence in schools that we must address. How can we expect our children to learn if they are afraid for their very safety in our schools?” Governor Gary Locke

School violence tragedies send the frightening message that no school is immune to these horrible events. But if students, parents, school officials, and law enforcement have the tools, and if they work together, schools can be much safer, and students can feel secure enough to focus on learning.

Youth Safety Summit

In 1998, Governor Locke and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson convened a Youth Safety Summit.

More than 400 students, parents, educators, law enforcement officers, and community leaders discussed what is needed to make schools safer. They recommended ways to prevent violence in schools and improve youth safety, focusing on what people can do together in their own communities.

Investing in Safer Schools

In the last three legislative sessions, the Governor and the Legislature provided $31 million for new tools to help create safer schools. Included in this past legislative budget was funding:

  • To all school districts to make schools safer. School districts are encouraged to use these funds to develop comprehensive safety plans that include prevention, intervention, crisis response, and post-crisis recovery to ensure a safe, civil, and healthy school.
  • To create a training program preventing bullying and harassment.
  • To establish a School Safety Center to help school districts develop the best safety policies and procedures.
  • To provide school security officers training.
  • To provide nonviolence and leadership training to students.

The Governor also signed new laws requiring immediate evaluation of students arrested for bringing guns to school, and requiring more information sharing between schools and law enforcement.

School Safety Depends on Everybody

School safety training Governor Locke knows our childrens' safety requires more than government intervention. It requires the caring involvement of the community - from students and parents to teachers and neighbors. It takes all of us working together to make our schools safe.

Encouraging Safety Programs in Our Public Schools

The six pillars of school safety:

  • Parents and families
  • Youth involvement
  • Violence prevention
  • School and community support
  • School safety and security
  • Media roles and responsibility

Dick Van Wagenen, Governor's Executive Policy Office
Phone: (360) 902-0651
Fax: (360) 586-8380

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