On December 18, 2018, the Federal Commission on School Safety (“FCSS”) issued a report and recommendations to the President of the United States regarding the FCSS’s study on how to improve safety of students and educators at educational institutions. The FCSS was created by the Trump Administration in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in February of 2018 in order to find a way to curb the rapidly increasing amount of school shootings.
Although the FCSS made a multitude of suggestions for schools regarding the various topics discussed within the report, a few notable suggestions include (1) creating a Comprehensive Targeted Violence Prevention Plan through an 8-step process, (2) seeking funding through the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 to establish a suspicious activity reporting system, (3) adopting the “No Notoriety” campaign when communicating with local media, (4) arming trained school personnel based on need, and (5) instituting recurring active-shooter training for teachers and students.
The report is separated into three primary sections: (1) Prevent, (2) Protect and Mitigate, and (3) Respond and Recover. Topics covered within the report include the following:
- Character Development and a Culture of Connectedness.
- Cyberbullying and School Safety.
- Curating a Healthier and Safer Approach: Issues of Mental Health and Counseling for Our Young.
- Integrating Mental Health, Primary Care, Family Services, and Court-Ordered Treatment.
- Using Suspicious Activity Reporting and Threat Assessments to Enhance School Safety.
- Effects of Press Coverage of Mass Shootings.
- Violent Entertainment and Rating Systems.
- The Obama Administration “Rethink School Discipline” Guidance.
- The Effectiveness and Appropriateness of Psychotropic Medication for Treatment of Troubled Youth.
- The Efficacy of Age Restrictions for Firearm Purchases.
- Extreme Risk Protection Order Laws.
- Improvements to the FBI’s Public Access Line.
- Training School Personnel to Help Ensure Student Safety.
- Emergency and Crisis Training for Law Enforcement.
- The Transition of Military Veterans and Retired Law Enforcement Officials into New Careers in Education.
- Best Practices for School Building Security.
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Other Statutory and Regulatory Privacy Protections.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Other Statutory and Regulatory Privacy Protections.
- Active Shooter Preparedness and Mitigation.
To read the report and recommendations, click here.
Authors: Matthew John Markling, Patrick Vrobel, and John T. Sulik, Jr.
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.