Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 19-04 to create a Missouri School Safety Task Force during a school assembly at Blair Oaks High School. Read the full press release below:
“As a grandfather and as Governor, I expect schools to be safe places 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,” Governor Parson said. “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.”
The Governor directed Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe to lead the task force and work with the Department of Public Safety, Department of Mental Health, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri School Boards’ Association, the Center for Education Safety, and a school resource officer to develop a strategic statewide plan for school safety.
“I appreciate Governor Parson’s leadership on this important topic, and I look forward to working with experts like Paul Fennewald, Director Karsten, Commissioner Vandeven, Executive Director Randol, and others to help keep Missouri students safe,” Lieutenant Governor Kehoe said. “We need input from local districts and local law enforcement, and we will be aggressively seeking these insights in the coming weeks.”
The task force will be meeting over the coming weeks and submit a report of its findings and recommendations by July 31, 2019. The task force will be studying the recently released Federal Commission on School Safety report from Missouri’s perspective to identify gaps, shortfalls, or suggested policy changes.
“School leaders and teachers across Missouri work hard every day to keep our students safe at school,” Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven said. “We look forward to working with them and their communities to confront the ever-changing challenges this effort entails.”
“School safety is a multi-faceted issue that requires collaboration, communication and strong, active partnerships between law enforcement agencies, schools and across communities,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “We stand ready to support the task force and strengthen our partnerships with all groups that work to protect children and enhance school safety.”
“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,” Department of Mental Health Director Mark Stringer said. “Schools also need better access to mental health care to assist students with mental health challenges.”