School climate

Published 9:44 pm Thursday, February 15, 2018

Dear Editor,

The school shooting in Florida yesterday puts an exclamation point on the need to improve school climate.    

While no one can promise an end to school violence, if we improve school climate and meet the mental health needs of our students, logic dictates that we will reduce the likelihood of shootings and promote safety and healing in schools where shootings do take place and in schools where shootings have not taken place, but where students have to live with the increasing threat of it happening at their schools. 

As my good friend, Garry McGiboney, said, “When news reporters ask about the Florida horror, it’s time to talk about school climate, early intervention, and mental health services for all children instead of just metal detectors.” 

We need to be proud of the work our school system is doing in this area.  They continue to implement PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) in our schools and created a full-time position last year for a mental health specialist. 

HB 763, introduced this year by Rep. Randy Nix, will help local communities promote a more positive and safe school environment within an existing, collaborative framework. That bill will be voted on in the House of Representatives today.  Rep. Nix also introduced another important education bill, HB 740, which has passed in the House and now resides in the Senate Education Committee. 

Judge Michael Key