St. Francis addresses school safety, brings in expert

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - One school in our area is thinking one step ahead when it comes to school safety. They are taking a unique approach to prevent a disaster.

"It's important because it does happen," said Angie Enright, a parent to three boys at St Francis de Sales. "It happens everywhere, it can happen anywhere. It's best that we know as parents and the community what the plan is."

Parents of St Francis students were able to look at some hard research Monday presented by the Educator's School Safety Network. It revealed school threats increased in the 2017-2018 school year by 62% from the previous year while incidents of violence increased 113%.

"We need to come to an all hazards approach to school safety so it can't just be the only thing we worry about is an active shooter," said Dr. Amy Klinger, director of programs for Educator's School Safety Network. "We really need to be prepared for all of those things and I think it's important for parents to understand there is so much that we can do, this is not a hopeless situation."

While Dr. Amy Klinger's statistics on school safety are shocking she says there's a lot to be done and it's not necessarily buying more safety equipment.

"We have to come at this from an education perspective because we are a people business so you need to invest in people not stuff and not just a law enforcement perspective, an education perspective," said Klinger.

Experts say by getting teachers involved it works toward prevention.

At St. Francis leaders have created a school safety committee and a crisis intervention team within the school to help address situations before them become a safety problem or disaster. They said it's less about working with their students and more about equipping their staff.

"The time and effort we spend on training is with the teachers and staff," said Father Geoff Rose, President of St. Francis. "Because as young people they are probably the least likely to be ready in that moment so what we really are looking for them to do is look for the adults and leaders."

It's clear schools have a large role to play, but Dr. Klinger says parents also have a big job.

They suggest you know your specific school's plan, support it at home and also talk with school leaders what you can do to be helpful and what you should avoid.