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Ohio School Safety Center Unveiled At First Official Meeting

A group of administrators and advocates tasked with developing recommendations for school security met for the first time on Tuesday.

The Ohio School Safety Center held its first-ever meeting with 42 school administrators and security advocates from across the state on Tuesday.

The center, created by Gov. Mike DeWine in August amid growing outcry about the mass shooting in Dayton that killed nine people, is housed within the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

“I think it’s an opportunity to support an important issue for our students, one that I see come up quite a bit as a school psychologist,” group member Bradley Paramore, president of the Ohio School Psychologists Association, told WOSU.

Eight employees of the state homeland security department have been moved from other part-time duties to focus solely on school safety, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Staff members are already fielding calls from tipsters concerned about bullying, self harm and threats to school safety. Information is then quickly passed on to law enforcement and school administrators.

The working group of school officials and experts will meet periodically to work on recommendations and guidelines for school security. In addition, the center plans to host a safety summit next summer, the Dispatch reported.

“We have a dedicated team waking up every day thinking of new ways to improve school safety,” state Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath told the working group.

Paramore told WOSU that the string of school shootings that have plagued U.S. schools weigh heavily on the minds of students, staff and parents. Within that environment, interventions should be in place to improve school climate and address student mental health before it deteriorates into violence.

"Putting positive interventions and supports in place where we can address issues that students are struggling with, or that they show up at school with, can have a positive impact on schools and school performance," Paramore said.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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