Prioritizing School Safety: Reflections on the 2023 Southern Region Leadership Conference

Date: July 19, 2023
Author: J Bernard Major CPS

The 2023 Southern Region Leadership Conference, hosted by the Arkansas School Boards Association (ASBA), was a transformative event that brought together educational leaders from across the Southern states. Held in the charming city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, from July 16th to July 18th, the conference focused on crucial topics, with active shooter prevention being a prominent concern in the minds of attendees. Our booth, featuring the innovative Barric-aid door reinforcement device, garnered significant attention, sparking discussions on school safety and budget considerations.

Uniting for Safer Schools

The conference’s well-attended nature demonstrated the shared commitment among educators, administrators, and school board representatives to prioritize the safety of students and staff. With representatives from school boards in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi in attendance, it was evident that the subject of school safety was a priority across the region.

Collaborating with members of the Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA) and the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA) further emphasized the importance of working together to address common challenges and share best practices. The conference provided an excellent platform for open dialogue and the exchange of ideas, fostering a spirit of unity and camaraderie.

Insightful Presentations and Engaging Discussions

The conference’s diverse lineup of speakers covered a wide range of topics, from board governance to building cyber resilience and dealing with disruptive students. The presentations were thought-provoking and offered valuable insights into effective educational practices and leadership.

One particularly notable session was on the science of learning to read, presented by Josh Hall. This presentation highlighted the importance of evidence-based approaches to reading instruction, emphasizing the need to equip educators with the knowledge and tools to support students’ reading development.

Of course, the subject of active shooter mitigation was at the forefront of many discussions, and it was evident that the issue had deeply impacted the education community. Our booth, showcasing the Barric-aid door reinforcement device, generated considerable interest as it presented an intuitive and effective solution to enhance classroom security during lock-down situations.

The Barric-aid: A Simple yet Effective Solution

The Barric-aid drew praise from many conference attendees due to its simplicity, ease of use, and effectiveness. The device allows occupants of a classroom to temporarily reinforce a door without creating unnecessary noise or revealing their presence. Its low positioning on the door enables individuals to stay low while engaging it, making it suitable for people of all ages, even young children.

Budget considerations were a topic of discussion, and it was recognized that schools face multiple competing priorities, such as roofs, windows, maintenance equipment, and transportation. However, when it comes to ensuring the safety of students and staff, the importance of affordable and effective solutions like the Barric-aid cannot be overlooked. Its ease of installation, low cost, and intuitive design make it a compelling option for schools seeking to enhance their lock-down procedures.

Empowering Teachers in the Decision-Making Process

A noteworthy aspect of the conference was the realization that decisions on school safety measures often involve multiple stakeholders. One board member shared that teachers in their schools have the autonomy to decide whether to implement a lock-down device. While empowering teachers to have a say in safety measures can promote a sense of ownership and involvement, it is also crucial to ensure that these decisions align with overall school safety policies and procedures.

Moving Forward: A Collective Responsibility

As the conference concluded, attendees were left with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to prioritize school safety. The insights gained and the connections made will undoubtedly contribute to enhanced safety practices in schools across the Southern region.

The 2023 Southern Region Leadership Conference emphasized that school safety is a collective responsibility. By embracing innovative solutions like the Barric-aid and fostering collaboration among educational stakeholders, we can create safer learning environments that empower students, educators, and staff alike. As we prepare for the fall school year, let us carry forward the lessons learned and continue working together to ensure the well-being of all those in our educational communities.

About the Author: J Bernard Major CPS, a security and protection expert is deeply committed to promoting school safety and innovative educational practices. With a focus on empowering schools and communities, they strive to contribute to a safer and nurturing learning environment. Many thanks go to Keith Rounsavall of Private Snoop Investigations Little Rock, AR for his invaluable help.

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