SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Springdale School District hosted its first-ever regional school safety summit Tuesday. Members from 26 Arkansas School districts were in attendance.
The keynote speaker, Cheryl May with the Criminal Justice Institute said the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas has sparked a need for evaluating safety protocol nationwide.
“There’s not one thing a school district can do. It’s not going to be waving a magic wand and then he school is safe. It’s a layered method. It’s tiered,” said May.
May was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson to lead the Arkansas School Safety Commission in 2018. One of the most critical talking points among the subcommittees was mental health. A solution to making sure those struggling got the help they needed while keeping the school safe was through Behavioral Threat Assessment Teams.
“If there was a threat that was identified with a particular student, then this team would evaluate the credibility of that threat and decide what plans need to be put in motion,” said May.
The Behavioral Threat Assessments Teams are made up of faculty, counselors and student resource officers. Damon Donnell, the Director of Student Services with the Springdale School District, said his district started a threat assessment team in 2021. It looks into anonymous reports through the school’s anonymous report website.
“A culture of safety is when everyone — students, teachers, community members, anyone involved in our community wants to do the right thing and report anonymously,” said Donnell. “So, if they know something, if they’ve seen something, if they’ve heard something — they’re going to say something through anonymous reporting.”
The Springdale School District has its own threat report system on its website. You can access the “see say” reporting system here. You can select a school and describe the type of situation — whether it be self-harm, sexual assault, bullying or a threat to the school.