MNPS approves new safety policies to ensure secure learning environment

The approved policies not only help keep the students safe but provide additional support for teachers who are victims of assault while on the job.
WSMV4's Joylyn Bukovac reports.
Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 11:45 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Metro Nashville Public School Board members have taken strides to reinforce safety measures and create a secure learning environment for all students with the recent passing of a set of comprehensive safety policies. These policies, approved by school leaders, are designed to address potential threats while fostering a supportive atmosphere within the educational system.

One of the components of these new safety policies is the establishment of threat assessment teams at both the district and school levels. These teams are responsible for developing intervention-based approaches aimed at preventing violence and effectively managing reports of potential threats. The responsibility for appointing members to these threat assessment teams lies with the Director of Schools, ensuring a thorough and professional selection process.

In addition to forming the threat assessment teams, the Director of Schools will also oversee the development of administrative procedures for training and safety plans, ensuring strict compliance with the newly introduced state law.

As part of the safety initiative, Tennessee schools are required to keep their buildings locked during both school hours and after-school hours. This policy is intended to ensure the safety and security of everyone within the school premises and deter any unauthorized access.

The School Governance Committee recently convened to discuss the implementation of this new law.

Board advisor Dr. David Sevier provided insight into the proposed management plan, stating, “The way we will manage it now is that it will be a school employee who will be present for after-school events or when external groups are using our buildings. If the group is not associated with MNPS, they will need to designate a responsible person during the approval request process. This designated person will be responsible for monitoring the entrance to ensure that only authorized individuals gain access and to maintain a secure environment for everyone.”

In an effort to strengthen school security, MNPS high schools and middle schools will be provided with school resource officers in the upcoming fall semester. These officers will help maintain a safe environment by collaborating closely with school staff and being readily available to address any security concerns that may arise.

In a separate move to ensure teachers’ safety, the Metro Public School Board members approved additional support for teachers who are victims of assault while on the job. This decision comes in response to incidents, such as the widely circulated video earlier this year, showing a teacher being pepper-sprayed by a student.