Carrollton, Ky. – Dec. 2, 2019 – The Carroll County School District and its local, regional and state partners are focusing on building relationships as the key to school safety. Among other initiatives, the district is part of a $500,000 US Department of Justice STOP School Violence Grant through the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC), which will help 279 schools across all of OVEC’s 15 member school districts develop capacity for school threat assessment and collaborate on safety planning.
“We are excited to be part of this initiative,” said Superintendent Danny Osborne. “And we are even more excited that the grant focuses on assessing threats rather than reacting to them. It’s no secret that schools are grappling with how to handle threats and other troubling behavior from both inside and outside of schools. But we need to remember that relationships are the key to safety, and that is exactly what our school safety teams focus on.”
In recent years, in partnership with the City Council of Carrollton, Carroll County Fiscal Court and the Carrollton Police Department, four school resource officers work full time in district schools.
“This is a great example of relationships leading to increased safety,” said Mark Willhoite, director of pupil personnel for the district. “Having officers in our schools decreases response time in the event of a crisis, but there are so many benefits on a day-to-day basis. Our school resource officers develop friendships with students and become their mentors as well. This leads to greater trust, which promotes safety for all of us.
“Our threat assessment teams and trauma teams are already in place, and SROs are key members of these teams. We are seeking first to understand where troubling behavior comes from and to address it on a case-by-case basis that is most appropriate for all of our students.”
Among Senate Bill 1 requirements, Kentucky public school districts must form school safety teams, identify a school safety coordinator for the district, and provide annual training for school resource officers. Kentucky school safety teams will include school administrators, school counselors, school resource officers, school-based mental health service providers, teachers, and other school personnel.
“We are so thankful for our school resource officers, the support of our community, as well as OVEC’s leadership,” Osborne said. “It takes all of us working together to ensure that students have a safe, fun environment in which to learn and grow.”
The Carroll County School District is a public school system that operates within the geographic boundaries of Carroll County, Kentucky. The district serves around 1,900 students K-12.