Focus on school safety provides reassurance


Maddie Schutte

The joint St. Louis Park City Council and School Board’s latest meeting regarding the new safety measures and potential mental health resources to be implemented in Park schools helped to return the overall feeling of safety in the community.

Participating in the April 20 National School Walkout last year following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, I worried that our protest would be the extent of our movement. However, recent actions taken by our School Board and City Council show positive change.

The City Council meets with the School Board annually to discuss a specific topic. The focus this year on student safety is keeping the conversation about gun control and mental health relevant, and allowing students to feel as though something is finally being done. Though safety has and always will be a concern in schools, violent intruders have been a prominent concern lately.

According to ABC, there have been 323 mass shootings so far in 2018. Since the horrific Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, over 400 students have died in school shootings, according to The New York Times.

The meeting also discussed the interest in supporting mental health needs for students and staff. Proper resources in aiding the mental health of students are lacking, which is something that would be incredibly beneficial. Mental health issues are equally as important as physical health and are a struggle that many high school students face.

When left untreated, mental health disorders in kids can eventually lead to them dropping out of school, according to the Association for Children’s Mental Health. One in five children have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and over half of students ages, 14 and older with mental, emotional or behavioral disorders drop out of school.

The lack of mental health support at Park is frustrating. Not all students have the ability or privilege to get help outside of school, making school their only option. Students need a safe place to turn to. I can only hope the conversation surrounding implementing proper help for students struggling doesn’t stop here.

The School Board’s decision to meet about improving our school safety standards as well as widening mental health options in our school offers a positive lookout for students’ futures at Park. These conversations are just the start of improving our school system and allowing our student body to feel safer at school.