Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration, Public Safety & School Officials Convene School Safety Roundtable on $72 Million School Safety Package

Bill proposes school security upgrades, hiring additional mental health professionals and training first responders to better handle threats
For immediate release:
8/20/2018
  • Governor Charlie Baker | Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Executive Office of Education
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Governor's Press Office

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration, Public Safety & School Officials Convene School Safety Roundtable on $72 Million School Safety Package

Brendan Moss, Press Secretary, Governor's Office

Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito hold roundtable about school safety and security.

BURLINGTONToday, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Education Secretary James Peyser, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Public Safety and Security Secretary Daniel Bennett, and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley joined several school superintendents, teachers, police chiefs, mental health experts and local legislators to discuss efforts the Commonwealth can take to improve safety in schools.

During the roundtable, the Governor spoke with local officials about the $72 million school safety package he filed last month, which was the result of input from many stakeholders, including several superintendents and mental health experts that participated in today’s discussion. The Administration started working on the safety initiatives immediately after the Parkland, Florida school shooting that killed 17 students and teachers in February. The roundtable was also an opportunity for school officials and local law enforcement to have an open dialogue about school safety, and discuss what they are doing locally to keep students safer.

“These proposals will allow schools to hire additional mental health professionals to increase support for our students, while also making important security upgrades,”said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to working with the Legislature to enact this package to make the Commonwealth’s schools safer.”

“Through access to new school safety training resources, we can teach students and teachers to better recognize potential threats,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “By working together, we can all ensure safer places for our kids to grow and learn.”

Governor Baker proposed a wide-ranging $72 million package to make school security upgrades, hire additional mental health professionals and train first responders to better handle threats within schools. The proposal includes $40 million in additional aid to school districts to hire social workers, mental health counselors and psychologists, and $20 million in matching state grants for security and communications upgrades in K-12 schools and public colleges and universities. 

“The sad reality is that we have to think about protecting our students and teachers from the threat of gun violence in the classroom. By strengthening student supports, as well as upgrading security measures and training for school personnel, we hope to reduce the possibility that we could experience a tragedy like other communities across the country have suffered,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. “I am very grateful for the expertise and insights of the school superintendents and public safety officials that helped us develop these very important initiatives.”

“Our schools face increasing challenges with changing dynamics in our society. Most importantly, our first priority is to provide for the safety and well-being of our students,” said Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts’ Association of School Superintendents. “School superintendents are most appreciative that the Governor has responded to our concerns that increased mental health and security measures are essential needs in our schools today.”

“Efforts to address school safety must also include strengthening behavioral health services for our youth,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Governor Baker’s proposal increases behavioral health treatment, coordination and prevention efforts in schools throughout the Commonwealth by providing increased aid to school districts to hire additional social workers, mental health counselors and psychologists.”

“Massachusetts’ strong gun laws mean we have one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the nation, but there is always more that we can do to reduce the chances that students in our schools will fall victim to such a sickening event,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett. “Governor Baker’s proposal would enhance the safety of our students by providing grants to improve security in school buildings, as well as giving educators, health officials, and first responders the training they would need in an active shooter situation.”

“Prioritizing students’ health, wellbeing and safety is essential to ensure we provide our teachers with thriving learning environments and Governor Baker gets that,” said Elementary and Secondary Commissioner Jeff Riley. “The resources he has proposed for schools are carefully targeted to have the most beneficial result for our school communities – teachers, students and their families.”

The package also includes:

  • $2.4 million to create a tip line to provide public safety and school personnel with timely information on potential risks
  • $2 million for a statewide “Say Something” campaign
  • $1 million for school safety training for educators, health officials, and first responders
  • $750,000 for the Safe and Supportive Schools Initiative
  • $500,000 for sharing best practices in emergency planning, threat assessment, and rapid response
  • $500,000 to create a school safety website

Under the legislation, each superintendent would report annually to the Department of Secondary and Elementary confirming whether they have a multi-hazard evacuation plan in place, as required by state law.  In addition, they would report on any trainings, exercises, or simulations related to the plan that were conducted in the prior year.

###

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration, Public Safety & School Officials Convene School Safety Roundtable on $72 Million School Safety Package

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito 

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and members of their administration are committed to making Massachusetts the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

Executive Office of Education 

From pre-school to post-secondary education, the Executive Office of Education works to connect all Massachusetts residents with an education that creates opportunities.

While Massachusetts' students rank first in the nation on many educational measures, the Executive Office of Education strives to strengthen the foundations of education reform, empower schools and educators, and develop pathways to college and careers so all students in the Commonwealth can succeed, regardless of their zip code.

Executive Office of Public Safety and Security 

EOPSS is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards which aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth.

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 agencies, in addition to 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 

ESE oversees the education of children grades pre-k through 12 in Massachusetts, striving to ensure that all students across the Commonwealth succeed.

Governor's Press Office 

Visit the Governor’s Press Office to learn about recent news from the administration, follow our happenings on social media, and for media contact information.

Feedback

Did you find what you were looking for on this webpage? * required
We use your feedback to help us improve this site but we are not able to respond directly. Please do not include personal or contact information. If you need a response, please locate the contact information elsewhere on this page or in the footer.
We use your feedback to help us improve this site but we are not able to respond directly. Please do not include personal or contact information. If you need a response, please locate the contact information elsewhere on this page or in the footer.

If you need to report child abuse, any other kind of abuse, or need urgent assistance, please click here.

Feedback