Metro Nashville Public Schools are about to roll out a new plan for keeping students safe in emergency situations.
This new approach will be more proactive in that students, parents and teachers will be trained on how to better understand the causes of school violence.
These days, school safety has to mean more than metal detectors and resource officers, so Nashville school leaders will soon turn to the lessons learned in the worst school shooting in the country's history and the things that could have stopped it from happening.
"This has to be one of our biggest priorities moving forward," said Tony Majors, Metro assistant superintendent of student services. "It's students taking ownership for the culture within their schools."
For its upcoming Youth Safety Summit, the district will turn to Rachel's Challenge - a national organization that bears the name of Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine High School massacre.
"Safety, in a nutshell, is more than just physical security measures. It's about students feeling safe. It's about educators knowing how to intervene appropriately," Majors said.
Scott's brother, Craig - who survived the school shooting - now travels the country, telling his sister's story to combat the causes of school violence.
"Really, we don't even focus on anti-bullying. We focus on kindness and compassion. I think by focusing on the right things, you automatically negate the negative things," he said.
That approach makes sense for Kyla Krengel, who works to boost social and emotional learning in Metro schools by teaching students life lessons beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.
"What we're doing now is really laying the foundation and being proactive so that every student is coming to school and feeling successful and feeling connected - making sure that every student feels like they are a part of the school community," Krengel said.
The Youth Safety Summit runs Saturday, April 6, from 9 a.m. to noon at McGavock High School.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the event is free for students and parents.
For more information, visit: http://www.mnps.org/Page66251.aspx?EventMode=View&EventID=103940.
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