First school safety advisory council in Fayette County in five years

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Fayette County School District Safety Advisory Council met Thursday night for the first time in 5 years. Officials discussed the 10-point Safety Investment Plan put in place in 2018 to determine what’s working and what’s not.

Some FCPS parents have questioned the effectiveness of the district’s 10-point Safety Investment Plan after a handful of potentially dangerous situations at schools.

“It fails right now when I hear dismissive statements that it’s natural for us all to go the extreme and think about the worst case,” said a Henry Clay High School student’s mom in October after the school was put on lockdown when a loaded gun was found inside.

New and old members of the district’s Safety Advisory Council took a look at and answered questions surrounding the current 10-point plan. The council says after five years and a global pandemic, a lot has changed with school safety.

“One of the things that traditional school has always focused on is reading, writing and math. Those things are crucially important,” says Dedeeha Newbern, Chief Student Support Officer. “School is about educating our students. But if we don’t continue to consider and enhance our social-emotional learning support then we’re missing out on a huge part, which is again, building citizens.”

Some of the points in the current plan have been clear to students and parents, like using metal detectors, more school resource officers and student and staff ID badges, but other parts aren’t as obvious. Things like mental health professionals, social-emotional learning training for staff and social media monitoring are also crucial parts of the plan.

“There’s no one component that is more important, they all work in concert together. So, with additional mental health, additional police officers and additional monitors and awareness on social media has allowed us to have a better understanding and situational awareness on safety, both on campus and in our communities,” says Chief Martin Schafer with the FCPS Police Department.

Thursday night, council members left beginning to think of what could be enhanced or changed about the current plan. The next meeting is scheduled for February 9th at 6 P.M. at Tates Creek High School. It will be a high school student panel where students will share their thoughts on what should be done in school.

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