New Center for School Safety Opens

8 years 4 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, August 26 2010 Aug 26, 2010 Thursday, August 26, 2010 12:25:17 PM CDT August 26, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA- The Missouri School Boards' Association is teaming up with the Missouri Department of Public Safety to form the Center for Education Safety. The Center will provide resources to preschools, K-12 schools and higher education institutions. These will be used to increase school safety and emergency preparations.

"This will be a place where schools can go to make sure they're as current as possible on their school safety plans," Missouri School Boards' Association spokesman Brent Ghan said.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City housed the Missouri Center for Safe Schools, but the Center was shut down due to budget cuts.

"We feel like with this new Center for Education Safety, that we can maybe step in and fill that void of being a resource for school safety in the state of Missouri," Ghan said.

Despite the new center, the numbers show Missouri classrooms are safe.

For example in Columbia, in 2009, there were 319 total incidents involving alcohol, tobacco, drugs, weapons and violent acts. That's a rate of 1.8 incidents per hundred students. With violent acts, like fights, there were six acts per 10,000 students.

The numbers for Missouri are similar with the incident rate at 1.9 per hundred students. But there is a major difference from Columbia here, with one violent incident rate for every thousand students.

"Our public schools as well as colleges and university campuses are among the safest places that students can be. In fact, the research shows that the school environment is much safer than many other environments that students may find themselves in," Ghan said.

The Center will have an advisory committee of state agency officials, school representatives, emergency responders and law enforcement officers. In addition, the Missouri School Boards' Association will hire two employees to run the Center for Education Safety.

"A safe environment in schools is very much tied to the broader community in which the schools exist, so if we can help communities understand what they can do to provide a safe environment for kids, that will have benefits for our schools and colleges and universities," Ghan said.

The Missouri School Boards' Association and the Missouri Department of Public Safety are working to open the Center on September 1. The Center will be located in the Governor Office Building on the corner of Madison and Capitol in Jefferson City. 

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