Student safety survey shows support for reinforced locks, mental health curriculum and guardian program
TAVARES – The majority of Lake County high school students who participated in a recent safety survey want to see reinforced locks and doors in their schools, a mental health curriculum integrated into their classes, and implementation of a program that would allow some school employees to have access to weapons on campus during school hours.
The survey results were shared during the Lake County School Board meeting on Monday night. It was conducted by a Student Advisory Committee made up of 16 representatives from each of the district’s eight high schools.
The students created the questions for the survey and the process for distribution at each school. The survey drew 1,730 participants.
Of those, 26% ranked reinforced doors and locks as their first or second priority when asked which safety measures would be most effective in their schools.
Survey participants also recognized the importance of addressing mental health issues. A little more than 80% of the students said having an on-site psychologist and integrating mental health into the curriculum was “important” or “most important” to them.
Additionally, while the majority of students said they feel safe, very safe or neutral about safety on their campuses, about 65% of survey respondents said they want to see the district participate in a school guardian program, which would allow some employees to have access to weapons on campus during school hours. Most said they would prefer five or more guardians on each campus and they felt most comfortable with those guardians being military veterans or ROTC instructors.
The students’ response to the guardian question differed from responses found last month in a district-wide survey of 2,673 participants. In that survey, the majority of employees, students, parents and community members did not approve of school personnel having access to a secured weapon on campus during school hours.
An earlier survey taken of school-based personnel just prior to Spring Break, however, found a slight majority – 52.75% of respondents – in favor of the guardian program.
School Board members have said they will take all stakeholder feedback into consideration before making any decisions about whether Lake County Schools will participate in such a program as part of an overall school safety plan.
See the Student Advisory Committee presentation at this link.