Source: National PTA One Voice Blog
We were deeply saddened to hear about the tragic school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas on Friday. It was the second shooting at a high school in the past week and the second mass shooting at a school this year. Every student deserves to learn and grow in a safe environment, and no parent should fear for the safety of their child every time they leave home for school. More must be done immediately to keep our children safe.
After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, President Trump established the Federal School Safety Commission led by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Secretary DeVos held an informal school safety meeting last Thursday to discuss lessons learned from previous school shootings. Today, the Department of Education released a video from the meeting.
We greatly appreciate the Secretary’s commitment to addressing school safety. School safety is a critical priority for all parents, educators, students and community members that should be urgently addressed. While we were pleased that the announcement of the Federal School Safety Commissionmentioned the importance of input from students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders as part of the Commission’s work, the commission has not yet publicly announced opportunities for stakeholders to meaningfully engage with the Commission. We urge Secretary DeVos and the Commission to include parents and educators in all aspects of their work.
National PTA—along with 7 other national organizations—sent a letter to Secretary DeVos urging the secretary to meaningfully engage stakeholders in the Commission’s work. It is imperative that the voices of those who attend, work in, and send their children daily to our nations’ schools are intimately involved in these conversations at the federal, state and local levels.
We know that parent engagement is indispensable to an effective public dialogue. Parents are critical stakeholders in education issues who are reflective of their communities and provide invaluable input and perspective as the key consumers of educational systems along with their children. From our experiences with ESSA and other education initiatives, we have learned that engaging all stakeholders, including parents, is essential throughout the entire policy development process.
Our association recently joined the National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of School Resource Officers, National Association of Secondary School Principals, School Social Work Association of America, American School Counselor Association and National Association of Elementary School Principals to release “Considerations and Action Steps for Implementing the Framework,” a supplemental to A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools. National PTA hopes the Commission will advance evidence-based policy and best practices in creating safe schools in states and districts across the country.
As one of the primary consumers of our nation’s education system, parents are essential partners in education who must be brought to the table to improve school safety. Make your voice heard on this important issue by sending your comments and recommendations related to school safety to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage you to reach out to your child’s school and local education leaders to learn more current school safety measures and policies and collaborate with them on ways to improve the school environment.