School district administration undergoes school violence prevention training

ANDERSON — Principals and leaders of the McDonald County R-1 School District are undergoing school violence prevention training in an effort to spot potential school violence before it begins.

District leaders gathered at the district main office on July 28 to attend the 1-2 hour training session hosted by the Missouri School Board Association Center for Education Safety. During the training, district leaders learned how to create a behavioral risk assessment team and identify potential violent or suicidal behavior among students.

Ken Schutten, communications/media specialist for the district, said the training was taken by headteachers this year to improve school safety.

“Preventive training is part of McDonald County School’s efforts to ensure its campuses are safe for students and staff,” Schutten said. “Other actions this year include installing new cameras in all buildings, securing more entrances to all buildings, and hiring three new School Resource Officers to service sites across the district.”

During the training, a representative from the Center for Education Safety discussed topics such as threat assessment links, an increase in suicidal ideation during covid-19, steps to take and how to continue to support and help potentially dangerous students while prioritizing the safety of staff and the student body.

Buck Owen, student resource manager for the McDonald County School District, said the training is helpful for district leaders by teaching leaders how to build effective teams as they pursue increased awareness of bullying prevention. violence.

“It’s training to help establish teams, behavioral threat management teams,” Owen said. “What these teams will do is they will identify potential threats and crisis events in a child’s life very early on. And this team will track and address those threats,” Owen said, noting various options for deal with these threats among students.

Owen said he believes trainings like this will help the district prevent school shootings by being aware of potential threats before a shooting occurs.

“To stop school shootings, we have to stop school shootings,” Owen said. “We cannot wait to act until there is a shooter in our building or a shooter arrives on our campus. We must stop them before they happen. We must identify children at risk, identify children who are in need and get them the services and help they need before it becomes a problem.”

Owen said teams of various staff will be created to assess potentially dangerous behavior, and the teams will look for warning signs among the student population.

McDonald County High School principal Angie Brewer said “silos” will be connected between staff members to increase violence prevention.

“We’ve got a lot of good things in place, and we’re doing a lot of good things for kids, but we’re doing these things in silos, and so we have to connect all of these silos together so that no student falls through the cracks. , “said Brewer.

Brewer stressed the importance of creating streamlined security teams in schools and that staff members help each other to prevent violent situations.

“We had security teams before, but we’ll have a more streamlined process,” Brewer said. “It increases communication between different parts of the district. You have your mental health team, you have your administrative team, you have your academic response team, you have your home liaisons, increasing communication between all of these people. so maybe if a student ticks more than one box, we can help, we can intervene, them.”

Brewer said, in tears, that the school is more than just a building and that the McDonald County R-1 Administration will take whatever action is necessary to protect members of each school.

“I’m always so proud of our district,” Brewer said. “I’m grateful to have more resources and I’m grateful to the board for supporting us. I think our board, our teachers and our administrators truly believe ‘Every child, every day, no matter what it takes.’ ‘”

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