Gov. Kim Reynolds | Facebook
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa Department of Education have joined forces to create the School Safety Bureau to focus on providing training and resources to keep students, faculty and staff at all Iowa schools safe.
"Today's announcement is about what the State of Iowa is doing to act, not react, on the critical national issue of school safety," Reynolds said. "We are working to ensure our schools and local law enforcement are prepared to both respond to and deter threats to the safety of students, teachers and staff. Sensible actions today can prevent tragedy tomorrow."
The Iowa Department of Education said that in order to thrive, students must first feel safe and secure, and this initiative is a first step in providing safe learning environments for all students throughout the state.
Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said that feedback has come from school administrators, law enforcement and first responders of a need for consistent training on how to respond quickly to school intruders, weapons and other threats of violence. The bureau will employ a core set of instructors that will provide school safety training throughout the state.
Studies show that early reporting is critical to school safety. In more than 80 percent of school shootings, at least one other person knew of the proposed threat. Many students do not come forward with their knowledge for fear of being bullied, outcast or accused of betrayal. The bureau proposes creating a tool that will allow students across the state to report suspicions easily, anonymously and at any time. This tool may be in the form of a traditional tip line or a smartphone app.
There is a digital component to threats of violence, many times being communicated through social media, gaming platforms or messaging apps. The bureau will provide cyber experts who can help local law enforcement pursue digital leads.