School security remains a top priority for the 2022-2023 school year. As rates of violence have increased amidst the youth mental health crisis, schools have been working to ensure that students can return to a safe healthy learning environment this fall. This is of such a pressing nature that one state is upgrading over a thousand school security systems.
Ohio has been working to provide more student support and better school security options. Not only has the state legislature recently introduced a bill to award students with mental health days to be taken throughout the school year, but teachers have been given the ability to carry guns in school if they feel the need. This arms children’s last line of defense in the event of a deadly mass shooting or stabbing.
In addition to these measures, 1,183 Ohio schools have been approved to receive upgrades to security equipment. Each school will receive a $50 thousand grant to update security cameras, automatic door locks, and other school safety measures. Many of the schools involved are in the northeastern Ohio area, and the total cost of these upgrades comes out to $47 million.
The application process has yet to open. Schools seeking more security measures, or those which need to upgrade outdated equipment can apply in the coming weeks. This is made possible by the Ohio School Safety Grant Program that was created last year. Its success awarded $5 million to 98 schools across 27 different counties.
While many lawmakers have recently focused on school security after the deadly Uvalde, Texas school shooting, Ohio has been working to combat growing youth violence concerns with preventative measures. By expanding the current grant program, many districts will be able to focus on areas of concern while better aiding children through their struggles. The governor ensured that schools which have not previously applied for the grants or were deemed ineligible in past rounds will be given top priority.
The hope is that with enough rounds, eventually all schools in the state will be up-to-date and that youth violence rates will decrease. Whether this can be achieved within the next school year is unclear, but enhanced school security measures have proven to deter intruders and protect students from harm. In the event of a violent incident, proper cameras can better identify perpetrators and prevent them from being able to repeat offenses.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke on the subject yesterday, noting that school security is a main focus for the state. “We’re working every day to make sure that rural, urban, and suburban schools alike have the safety and security resources they need,” he noted. He also mentioned that this is just one aspect of the state’s plans to provide students with a proper education experience. Mental health support is also another large area of focus that the governor and state lawmakers are committed to expanding.
This approach to providing support and updated school security is expected to increase balanced safety outcomes. Students who receive mental support can better cope with their struggles while simple security measures, like automatic door locks, can isolate intruders and ensure that violent acts are ended without tragedy. As Ohio schools continue to receive grants to update their school security systems parents and teachers can better focus on guiding children through their lessons and into adulthood.