September 16, 1999

Officials Work To Make Manhattan Schools Safe
By Bob Seymour, principal, Anthony Middle School
and  Angie Cohorst, USD 383Communications Coordinator

America’s schools are among the safest places to be on a day-to-day basis,
due to the strong commitment of educators, parents and communities to their
children. Recent tragedies in a few schools and workplaces remind us that
no community can be complacent in its efforts to make its schools even
safer.  An effective and safe school is the vital center of every community
and the commitment to helping each child feel secure and connected is key
to creating an environment conducive to learning.
School violence reflects a much broader problem, one that can only be
addressed when everyone -at school, at home and in the community- works
together. Research shows that prevention and early intervention efforts can
help school communities recognize the warning signs early so that children
get the help they need. Research also suggests that some of the most
promising prevention and intervention strategies involve the entire
educational community working together to form positive relationships with
Good schools foster learning, safety and socially-appropriate behaviors.
They have a strong academic focus and support students in achieving high
standards, foster positive relationships and promote parental and community
involvement. Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools are taking a proactive approach
to support prevention, appropriate intervention and effective crisis
Recent tragedies at a few schools have heightened a national effort for
discussion on these issues. State legislation has passed several bills
giving school districts more flexibility to prevent and impose disciplinary
consequences on students who violate rules. A 24-hour-per-day statewide
hotline (1-877-626-8203) has been established to report impending school
violence anonymously. Reports received on the hotline will immediately be
shared with local law enforcement and school officials and will be
investigated. We encourage parents to talk with their children and for
those young people to feel comfortable expressing their concerns to their
parents or school employees or to use the hotline.
Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools have comprehensive crisis management plans
that are evaluated and updated as needed. All rumors affecting student and
staff safety are taken seriously and are investigated by appropriate
authorities. While no one can prevent all violence for occurring, we can do
much to reduce the likelihood of its occurrence.
School safety is everyone’s job and all must commit to meeting the
challenge of creating a safe school environment where our youth can