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School Safety Reforms Central to President Obama’s Gun Control Proposal

Shaker Heights Schools is in the process of evaluating its safety practices, officials say.

President Barack Obama presented a sweeping set of gun control recommendations on Wednesday, with many focused directly on increasing safety measures in schools.

According to the Politics K-12 blog, the proposals signal a shift in federal priorities—the proposals ask for increases in school safety and mental health counseling funding, areas the administration has sought to cut in the budget in recent years.

Check out the Politics K-12 post for a more in-depth look at the proposals, which includes creating model emergency response plans for institutions like schools and providing $50 million for training for professionals like social workers and counselors who plan to work with young adults.

The full text of the plan can also be found on the White House website.

The local school safety conversation

In the month since the , this issue has been at the forefront of conversations across the country, including Northeast Ohio. School districts from North Canton to Lakewood to Mentor have taken the issue on, opting to strengthen their ID policy for visitors and looking for ways to identify students that need extra support.

Shaker Heights Superintendent Mark Freeman has initiated a review of safety and security procedures at all of the district's facilities. That announcement came a week ahead of Obama’s executive actions regarding school safety, which includes having a school resource officer. Find the full list of executive actions, which can go into effect immediately without congressional approval, on the New York Times’ website.

After the shooting in Connecticut in December, Shaker Schools spokeswoman Peggy Caldwell said that the district conducted lockdown drills in the fall, and work closely with the Shaker Heights Police Department on safety measures.

The district’s contingency plan involves first making sure students are safe —  meaning that if there is a lockdown necessary, to get students quiet and in classrooms with the doors closed.

The police department has copies of all eight of the schools' floorplans.

The district currently has critical events plans in place for violent events, chemical spills, weather emergencies and more. A work group will carefully consider any changes that need to be made and make recommendations by the end of February, according to the district.

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