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Missouri Center for Education Safety holds three-day academy on safety training in Branson

Updated: Sep. 18, 2021 at 8:30 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Educators from across the state are gathering in Branson this weekend, learning about ways to keep children safe while on campus.

For a second time, the Missouri Center for Education Safety is offering a three-day academy to all school districts across the state. The academy include videos, speakers, small group discussions, and demonstrations.

The academy focuses on topics such as mental health, cyber security, emergency preparedness, civil unrest and active shooters, in addition to safety precautions to keep people safe at schools.

Zac Rantz, the safety coordinator for Nixa Public Schools, said it’s important to be prepared for a crisis that can happen at any time.

“There will always be a crisis looming around the corner. You may not know what it is,” said Rantz. “You always have to be preparing for that next thing so that you’re ready to respond. That’s probably the hardest thing is always keeping it at the forefront of people’s minds, that we always have to be ready to respond.”

Amy Roderick, the director of Missouri School Boards Association Center for Education Safety, said having mental repetition for training is key.

“I think the biggest thing is ‘train, train, train’ and ‘exercise, exercise, exercise’ to make sure people understand when that happens, it’s automatic,” said Roderick. “They have that muscle memory they know what to do.”

A new state law requires each school district in Missouri to have a certified safety coordinator. Many were in attendance Saturday as part of 20 hours worth of training.

Roderick explains how their training streamlines safety for all Missouri schools.

“There’s no standardization or consistency about that training,” said Roderick. “So this academy allows those designated school safety coordinators to become trained. We’re actually standardizing what that training is across the state.”

Rantz said having everyone on page makes any crisis easier to handle.

“The same thing needs to happen, whether it’s your communication, or your mental health plan, or whatever else. It’s something that you’ve practiced and prepared for time and time again,” said Rantz.

Organizers said they hope all Missouri school districts, large and small, will cooperate in the future so there is a streamlined plan throughout the state.

Roderick said this academy is important for the safety of everyone.

“They’re important to ensure that kids, students, and staff are in a safe learning environment, because if the students and staff aren’t safe, kids aren’t going to learn,” said Roderick. “They’re important to ensure that you have processes and protocols in place. It’s also important to understand that your training needs to coincide with your practices and with your policies in place. Those all need to work together.”

The academy will also run Sept. 19 and Sept. 20.

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