Bozeman School District hosts meetings to address student safety

Posted at 6:25 PM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 20:25:00-04

BOZEMAN – Each year, the Bozeman School District hosts District Safety Committee Meetings, aimed at addressing issues and searching for solutions concerning the well-being and safety of Bozeman students. But the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida has left many unanswered questions, particularly concerning student safety.

The Safety Committee meetings hope to answer some of those questions and improve its commitment to keeping students safe.

"The goal of these meetings is to bring a number of educated, interested people together to talk about how to make our schools safer and better places for students and staff," said Marilyn King, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction for BSD.

Parents, Bozeman faculty, law enforcement and others gathered, breaking down into focus groups, discussing topics like school facilities, personnel armed tactics, technology, and social-emotional relationships, and how each of these can be improved within the school system.

"I feel like these district safety meetings are just a chance for us to collaborate, to share ideas, to ask hard questions of each other of what we’re doing, and what we can do better," said Karen Lum, a parent of a Meadowlark Elementary first-grader.

A major focal point of the group discussion was finding ways to increase overall school security, whether by adding more school resource officers, or just simply improving communication.

"Some of my main concerns as a parent are, I just wanted to see a regular dialogue, specifically around school safety as it relates to armed intruders, and also other threats of that nature at the schools, and I feel like there’s a lot of room to improve in that area," Lum said.

The first step for the District to make these improvements comes on Monday, when all of the recommendations made at the Safety Committee will be brought to the School Board for further discussion.

But a plan to analyze the district’s current safety measures with a safety audit is already in the works.

"I think that in order to decide, using data on what our priorities should be for addressing facilities issues, it’s important to have a comprehensive safety audit, so that we know the direction that we need to put our monies towards,” King said.

This is the fourth Safety Committee meeting of the school year, and the Committee will hold one more before school ends, with a date and time to be determined.

To read more about Bozeman School District’s current safety and security measures, visit its safety webpage.