Focus on School Safety Issues October 21-27 Raises Awareness, Encourages Student Engagement
ANNAPOLIS, MD–Governor Larry Hogan has signed an officialproclamationdesignating October 21–27 as Maryland Safe Schools Week. The week is designed to raise awareness of school safety issues and initiatives at the local and state level.
“The safety and security of all Marylanders is our most important responsibility,” said Governor Hogan. “We encourage everyone to do their part and remain vigilant in protecting our kids and ensuring Maryland schools are places where students can learn free from threats of crime and violence. I urge students, parents, teachers, and community members to report any concerns about potential threats including substance abuse, gangs, bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, hate, and vandalism.”
During Maryland Safe Schools Week, Marylanders are encouraged to unite with school staff and their community and create a “family-like” culture at school advocating the power to stop bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, conflict, hate and violence while spreading empathy, compassion, and respect.
Earlier this month, Governor Hogan announced “Safe Schools Maryland,” a tip line and mobile app designed to streamline reporting of possible threats to students school facilities. Students, family members, parents, teachers, administrators, and other community members can anonymously report information to Safe Schools Maryland via a mobile app available for download through the Apple App Store or Google Play, online atwww.SafeSchoolsMD.org, or by calling 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233). Trained Maryland Joint Operations Center (MJOC) personnel will respond to reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
“‘The ‘Safe Schools Maryland’ app and tip line is an instrumental step in ensuring our children and our schools are protected, but it is not the only answer,” said Ed Clarke, Executive Director of the Maryland Center for School Safety. “Strivingto solve thesafetyissues our schools face is a mission that involves allcommunity members. It may require saying something toa school administrator, counselor, teacher, school resource officer or a trusted adultwhen something seems out of place or as easy as leaving a tip on the tip line app.”
The governor recently announced $10.6 million in funding available for local school systems to enhance school safety through training, safety assessments, information sharing, and more. The grants will flow through the Safe Schools Fund, which was created as part of the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018 that Governor Hogan signed into law on April 10. The legislation includes key Hogan administration proposals, such as increased funding for the Maryland Center for School Safety, the creation of aggressive statewide standards for school safety, and requirements for the standardized training and certification for all school resource officers. The remaining funds include $23.5 million to help schools improve the physical safety of school facilities and $2.5 million to conduct safety evaluations required by the legislation.
In addition to Maryland Safe Schools Week, it is also National School Bus Safety Week. The Maryland State Department of Education reminds everyone that school bus transportation plays a critical role in the education of Maryland students. It is a link between community and classroom. Bus safety tips to keep your child safe include:
- Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they won’t drop things along the way.
- Arrive at the bus stop before it is due, ideally at least five minutes early.
- Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage children to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
- Practice good pedestrian behavior: walk on the sidewalk, and if there is no sidewalk, stay out of the street. If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as you can.
- Stop and look left, right and then left again if you must cross the street. Do the same thing at driveways and alleys. Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions so your child knows you are looking left, right, and left.
During this week, the Maryland Center for School Safety and the Maryland State Department of Education will be sending out safety tips and information. You can follow the Maryland Center for School Safety onFacebookor onTwitterat @SafeSchoolsMD. The Maryland State Department of Education also will be sending out information. They can be found onFacebookandTwitterat @MDPublicSchools.