Mental Health: A Key to School Security

Mental Health: A Key to School Security

St. Charles CUSD 303 took the lead to reconvene Summit 303 and gather the community to address the subject of community mental health from a different perspective.  Mental health has long been viewed as a private issue to be quietly handled by an individual or family.  However, in this gathering of Summit 303, the discussion began by viewing community mental health as a key to school security. The initiative for this gathering of Summit 303 came from a message sent to District 303 parents by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Don Schlomann on December 16, 2012 in the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown CT.  

"Just as we did on the topic of student suicide and depression," Dr. Schlomann wrote, "we are going to turn our attention to prevention.  We are going to utilize the power that resides in our teachers and staff members and their knowledge of and familiarity with the kids who attend our schools."

District 303 and school districts all around the United States are reviewing safety and security procedures in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook.  But as the events of that day indicated, locks and procedure manuals do not guarantee prevention.

"There is a human element to these types of incidents," Schlomann says.  "At Summit 303 we want to explore if, and then how, we as a community can do a better job of identifying that someone is becoming disconnected from their family and friends.  We all need to know what to do to help that person get support long before they feel compelled to take drastic action."

District 303 is joined and supported in this effort by the St. Charles Education Association, the City of St. Charles, the St. Charles Police Department, the St. Charles Public Library, several faith-based community organizations and mental health and wellness organizations in the Tri-Cities.

Summit 303 participants utilized data and opinions compiled from their discussions to develop community recommendations. Community involvement in Summit 303 is vital to its success and the District extends an open invitation to participate in future meetings.

Meeting Summaries: