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School Safety Reforms Central to President Obama’s Gun Control Proposal

Mentor Public Schools already have a number of the recommendations in place

President Barack Obama presented a sweeping set of gun control recommendations on Wednesday, with many focused directly on increasing safety measures in schools.

According to the Politics K-12 blog, the proposals signal a shift in federal priorities—the proposals ask for increases in school safety and mental health counseling funding, areas the administration has sought to cut in the budget in recent years.

Check out the Politics K-12 post for a more in-depth look at the proposals, which includes creating model emergency response plans for institutions like schools and providing $50 million for training for professionals like social workers and counselors who plan to work with young adults.

The full text of the plan can also be found on the White House website.

The local school safety conversation

In the month since the , this issue has been at the forefront of conversations across the country, including Northeast Ohio. School districts from Mentor to North Canton to Lakewood have taken the issue on, opting to strengthen their ID policy for visitors and looking for ways to identify students that need extra support.

For example, in Mentor, high school students can anonymously text tips to their principal as part of its “See Something Say Something” program.

In some ways, Mentor Public Schools are ahead of Obama’s executive actions regarding school safety. For instance, they already have a school resource officer.

  • Find the full list of executive actions, which can go into effect immediately without congressional approval, on the New York Times’ website.

After the shooting in Connecticut in December, Superintendent Matthew Miller wrote a letter to the community, discussing the district’s ongoing safety measures.

Additionally, Assistant Superintendent William Porter gave a presentation on Mentor Schools' safety efforts at the most recent Board of Education meeting. (You can watch the entire presentation here.)

The district conducts several drills each year, including at least one "lockdown" drill annually. Miller said there will be more drills added, including "table-top exercises" in which officials from the schools and safety forces run through possible scenarios at roundtable meetings.

Miller added that he will be attending a seminar on active-shooter scenarios this February. It is paid for by the Ohio Department of Education.

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