About 50 Warren County students representing nearly every high school and the Warren County Career Center participated in a school safety forum last week.
The Friday forum was held at the Warren County Educational Services Center in Lebanon and was organized in a little more than two weeks by the county’s school superintendents.
EXCLUSIVE: Dozens of local students shared their security concerns with officials in a very unique way
The event featured state, county, local and school officials as well as representatives from nearly all law enforcement agencies in Warren County.
Here are seven things that impressed us at the forum:
1. The students were thoughtful and were articulate and respectful with their questions, comments and suggestions about school safety. The students were sincere when they shared their concerns with public officials and were engaged with the public officials. While some students were for arming teachers, others were not but respectfully listened to the views of others.
2. When there was disagreement with concerns, comments or suggestions, the students were respectful with their peers as well as with the public officials and others who asked clarifying questions in following up on the students comments.
3. Some new ideas were brought up by the students that the public officials had not heard of before. Those ideas included curriculum additions of required multi-cultural and diversity classes to cultivate humanity, courses in ethical and moral reasoning and an optional self-defense course instead of physical education credit or incorporating self-defense training in gym classes.
4. State Rep. Scott Lipps offered to continue the conversation about school safety by giving out his cell phone number to the students as well as offering to meet with them on days he has appointments in the district.
5. Students suggesting that they go through the same active shooter response training that teachers, staff and administrators receive and that the ALICE training be realistic and situational, not routine by knowing in advance that it will be during a certain class period. The students said that would be a way for them to take these drills more seriously.
6. Students suggested more inclusion activities for their peers by adding more school activities and clubs to accommodate other student interests.
7. Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims apologized to students for not including the students in this conversation, something he said should have been done years ago.