Arizona’s School Safety Task Force releases plan to limit school violence

Nov 19, 2020, 12:00 PM
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
(AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — More than one year after its creation, Arizona’s School Safety Task Force announced its model school safety plan and recommendations to help limit student violence in a final report Wednesday.

The group, created by Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, wants to implement a confidential statewide tip line run by the Department of Education to report threats and prevent violent incidents at public and charter schools, among other proposals.

Other recommendations include repealing legislation prohibiting statewide collection of school disciplinary data and establishing a full-time position in the education department to vet and keep current a list of safety resources for schools.

State lawmakers will consider implementing these recommendations during the 2021 legislative session.

Student members of the task force also recommended that school leaders work to provide funds for mental health counselors and programs, create diverse curriculum and rethink negative reinforcement systems like detention.

“As an educator, I’ve consistently seen the value and importance of listening to our students and bringing their voices into decision making,” Hoffman said in a press release.

Hoffman created the task force in October 2019 after a bill drafted by March for Our Lives Arizona to establish the group within the Arizona Department of Education failed to pass the state legislature.

Its goal was to produce models of school safety plans for use across the state, as well as identify additional resources schools need to aid student’s physical and mental safety.

The group sought input from students, teachers, counselors, advocacy groups, law enforcement and legislators.

“The work and research done on this committee will undoubtedly prove to help keep our students and school communities safe, and ensure that as a state, we really are putting student’s wellbeing first,” Maya Zuckerberg, political co-director of March for Our Lives Arizona, said.

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Arizona’s School Safety Task Force releases plan to limit school violence