Let’s protect our children

Iowa Governor’s School Safety Bureau can help

It wasn’t so many years ago that parents could say with confidence that the schools their children attended were among the safest places in the community. Sadly, that’s not the world we live in anymore. Schools in all types of locales have become a frequent target for unspeakable, lethal violence by assorted individuals. The motivations of the perpetrators vary. What they have in common, however, is the intent to harm children.

Recognizing that making our schools as protected as possible is crucial, Gov. Kim Reynolds, working in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa Department of Education, has just announced the creation of the Iowa Governor’s School Safety Bureau. Its goal is quite simply to link schools with the resources they need to make the learning environment more secure.

“We are working to ensure our schools and local law enforcement are prepared to both respond to and deter threats to the safety of students, teachers and staff,” the governor said in announcing this vital initiative. “Sensible actions today can prevent tragedy tomorrow.”

The new bureau will put an emphasis on training both school personnel and first responders on effective ways to prevent intruders and deal with them should that become necessary. It will have instructors available to help with a wide range of safety training for school personnel and first responders.

After the fact, we often have learned that in many school shootings there were people who had some awareness before these terrible incidents occurred that an attack might take place. The bureau will implement a reporting tool that will allow individuals with suspicions to communicate their concerns to appropriate authorities.

In our digital world, information about potential threats may exist on social media or other platforms in advance of an attack. The new bureau will have agents who are expert at navigating this cyber universe to pick up leads that may lead to preventing contemplated incidents from actually taking place.

The Governor’s School Safety Bureau will work as a partner with local schools and law enforcement agencies to marshal the necessary action to make schools safe places for learning to occur. That’s a hugely important goal. We commend the governor and other state leaders for launching this key initiative. We urge school leaders throughout our readership area to take full advantage of the training and other resources the bureau will make available to them.

It’s hard to imagine anything more important to the well-being of our communities than keeping children from harm. The Iowa Governor’s School Safety Bureau can be a major asset as our school systems pursue that goal.