The 2018 Safe and Healthy Schools Conference, hosted by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Ohio Department of Education, and PreventionFIRST! will present state and local partnerships and practices that demonstrate a cross-systems approach and evidence-based strategies to prevent and address behavioral health needs in Ohio schools.
Register now for the conference, which will inform and engage school and community stakeholders in building their local capacity. The objective is to create safe and supportive environments for students in preschool through 12th grade.
The conference is designed for parents, district and school leadership and staff, law enforcement, child welfare and juvenile justice professionals, early childhood professionals, behavioral health professionals, school nurses and community health professionals, before and after school staff, and school social workers and counselors.
Please feel free to share the conference information and registration link with colleagues who determine or implement Student Supports in Ohio schools. Please click here to view more information and register.
In light of the recent increase in school threats and the potential for school districts to consider hiring private security, the Ohio Department of Public Safety wants to warn against hiring unlicensed security guard companies. Ohio law (O.R.C. 4749) requires security guard companies to be licensed and to register each of their guards.
A license ensures:
the company meets state requirements;
all employees have passed criminal background checks, and;
the company is insured.
School districts can locate licensed security guard companies or verify a security guard company’s license by visiting the PISGS website, and clicking on “Search for Licensed Providers.” School officials can also contact PISGS directly at (614) 466-4130 to ask questions or receive verification of a company’s license.
School safety is on everyone’s mind and having a sense of security in Ohio’s schools is essential for staff, students, and parents alike. Although hiring outside security can be an important asset for the safety of students and staff, inadvertently hiring an unlicensed company is a potential liability and jeopardizes everyone’s safety.
The school emergency plan law requires schools to annually certify to the Ohio Department of Education that their emergency plans are current and accurate. School and district administrators with compliant school emergency plans from 2017 and earlier have until July 1 of each year to complete this annual review and document the review date in SAFE.
Review your documents and ensure they represent your current facility and staff between January 1 and July 1. Once you have done this, log into the school safety plan application in SAFE and enter the date you completed your review; the directions can be found here. If you have revisions to your plans, please make sure to update the documents in SAFE by using the ‘edit’ button to upload the revised plans then enter the review date in SAFE. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact the Center for P-20 Safety and Security helpline at (614) 644-2641 or SaferSchools@DPS.Ohio.gov.
Districts considering implementation of barricade devices, commonly known as temporary door locking devices, need to ensure they plan for and document the use of these devices during both emergencies and exercises.
Local building officials and emergency responders must be consulted before implementing the devices, and districts should ensure they have shared the most current school emergency procedures governing the use of these devices with responders. Schools seeking to use barricade devices must be able to prove that they have developed and adopted emergency management plans compliant with RC 3313.536, and the use of these devices (during both emergencies and exercises) must be established in a given school’s emergency management plan.
For more information on the use of barricade devices, or to view the final adopted rules governing their use, please click here.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in partnership with the Now is the Time (NITT) Technical Assistance Center, developed an issue brief entitled "Mental Health and Academic Achievement," which highlights the importance of mental health supports in schools.
Although up to 27 percent of youth experience externalizing behavior problems, depression, and anxiety, only one-sixth to one-third receive mental health treatment (Weist et al., 2007). Considering that unaddressed mental health concerns can contribute to adverse consequences, the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003) identified mental health screening as one of six goals for transforming mental health care. Unfortunately, data indicates only two to three percent of schools engage in mental health screening, and those that do may not use the data to inform effective intervention (Vannest, 2012).
To assist schools in improving their mental health screening practices, Project AWARE Ohio developed the Mental Health, Social-Emotional, and Behavioral Screening and Evaluation Compendium to provide mental health practitioners with information about no-cost and low-cost mental health, social-emotional, and behavioral screening tools for children and adolescents. The resource includes comprehensive information about 90 different instruments. For a full discussion about the usefulness of the resource, please consult the compendium and screening guidance document.
To assist Ohio communities in locating mental and behavioral health treatment providers in their local counties, the Ohio Mental Health Network for School Success developed the School and Community Continuum of Services Map. This online tool is an interactive county-by-county map that lists agencies that provide mental health and behavioral health services, and includes agency contact information, links to a map and directions to the facility, and highlights the prevention, intervention, and treatment services provided by the agency.
Please be aware of the resubmission dates for your school’s emergency management plan. This date is prominently displayed in SAFE on the dashboard. An Ohio Homeland Security (OHS) planner will reach out to you six months BEFORE your resubmission date and provide any technical assistance you may need. If your plans are not evaluated by your resubmission date, the status of your plan will change to “Expired Non-Compliant.” You will have 14 days to address any deficiencies. Please review the revised requirements for the plan in OAC 3301-5-01, issued November 2017. Finally, become familiar with the new gap analysist tool (GAT) – the grading sheet for the evaluation cycle 2018-2020. All five sample documents have been updated to meet the updated requirements for your convenience.