Governor Mike Parson has signed an executive order launching a new task force for safety in Missouri’s schools.
According to a press release, the Missouri School Safety Task Force will, from the state’s perspective, study a recently released report from the Federal Commission on School Safety to identify gaps, shortfalls, and suggested policy changes.
During a press conference on the task force today, Parson said as a grandfather and a governor, he expects schools to be a safe place ‘from the time a student steps onto the bus in the morning, until he or she steps off in the afternoon.’
“Unfortunately, I know from my time as a law enforcement officer that there are people in the world who seek to prey on those who are often unable to protect themselves,” said Parson. “As a state, we need to ensure we are providing the tools and guidance to help local education leaders make our schools as safe as possible.”
State officials on the task force include Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven, Department of Mental Health Director Mark Stringer, Executive Director of Missouri School Boards’ Association Melissa Randol, Senior Policy Advisor to the Center for Education Safety Paul Fennewald, and Gov. Parson himself.
They will meet over the next few weeks and submit a report In July of this year.
“The creation of the Missouri School Safety Task Force is important to helping all schools in the state be prepared for natural and human-caused disasters,” said Department of Mental Health Director, Mark Stringer.
Stringer also added that schools need ‘better access to mental health care’ to help students dealing with mental health challenges.