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Ohio Comprehensive School Safety Framework Announced

(Photo: McClain High School- Litter Media/Mike Smith)

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(Columbus) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has released Ohio’s Comprehensive School Safety Framework that outlines recommended strategies that schools can use toward creating physically and emotionally safe environments for students.

“There is nothing more important than the well-being of our kids, and this framework outlines strategies that schools can implement to help ensure a safe learning environment and positive school climate,” Governor DeWine said.

The Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC), housed within the Ohio Department of Public Safety, developed the framework collaboratively with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS).

The framework includes:

  • evidenced-based best practices to assist schools in developing a comprehensive approach that engages school staff, students, and families.
  • important role assignments for key personnel in developing a comprehensive school safety approach including principals, counselors, school security, and law enforcement.
  • a list of the short-term, intermediate, and long-term results that the framework will deliver to more holistically support every child across Ohio.

“The spirit of cooperation among state agencies putting this framework together is a great example of the type of effort needed at the local level,” said Emily Torok, Executive Director of the OSSC. “School safety and positive school climate are achieved by comprehensive and collaborative efforts of all school staff and relevant community members. It takes consistent and effective approaches to prevent violence and promote learning.”

The three state agencies used Ohio’s Whole Child Framework as a guide for the collaborative approach to physical and emotional school safety and takes into consideration programs and initiatives that schools already have in place. The framework provides a path for tying these together to provide efficient and effective services.

“When students are healthy and feel safe and supported, they are set up for success and ready to effectively engage in learning. The Whole Child Framework broadens district and school focus beyond academics to align efforts to create safe and supportive school environments for students, staff and the community,” said Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Stephanie Siddens.

“Schools can create emotional safety for students by creating a climate that is inclusive, addresses bullying, supports behavioral health needs, and builds positive relationships among students and staff,” MHAS Director Lori Criss said.

Governor DeWine developed the Ohio School Safety Center to be a comprehensive, statewide office focused exclusively on enhancing the safety of Ohio schools. In addition to maintaining and promoting the Safer Ohio School Tip Line, the center assists schools and first responders in preventing, preparing for, and responding to threats and acts of violence including self-harm. Governor DeWine previously tasked the OSSC with expanding its regional liaison program so schools would have regional support to implement improvements like the comprehensive framework.

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