MCPS has announced their next plan of action to encourage and aid our schools to be safer and produce a healthier environment. The full letter is here; but in brief:
Their approach is to continue their “All Together Now” slogan, aiming for cooperation and community. “The framework will be built using essential elements of collaboration, targeted resources, monitoring and accountability,” says MCPS.
New (and continuing) immediate strategies include: Sharing with students, staff, and family messages about safety; hosting a series of sessions to hear the various perspectives of stakeholders; And establishing an MCPS Safety and Security and Student Well-being Advisory Group.
As per restroom safety, to combat unsafe usage, MCPS stated, “Staff are increasing the frequency of their visual monitoring and checks inside restrooms throughout the school day, between class periods and during lunch periods.”
They added that latches will be placed on exterior bathroom doors in middle schools to keep the doors propped open.
Short term solutions: Reviewing the MCPS Student Code of Conduct; Evaluating the Community Engagement Officer (CEO) 2.0 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU); Providing training refreshers for staff related to emergency situations.
Long term: Placing standardized safety and security signage in all facilities; Revising student attendance practices; Revising the Student Code of Conduct; Ensuring the CEO 2.0 MOU continues to meet school and district needs; Adding student assemblies on safety; Adding district staff training; Adding an emergency and safety compliance module to annual employee training.
Only time will tell if these practices will actually encourage safer schools, but transparency about solutions is at least one step in the right direction. Both of our SMOB candidates are working towards more secure bathrooms, so in the future, ideally, additional safety plans are added.