Statement by Minister Broten on School Safety
Today, Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, issued the following statement on school safety in Ontario:
"We know that Ontario schools are some of the safest in the world. But the recent horrific event in a Connecticut elementary school reminds all of us how important it is to do everything we can to keep our schools safe. No matter where events such as this may happen, it can shake our sense of security.Ontario families deserve and want to know about the measures in place to protect their children while at school. All students and staff have the right to be safe and feel safe at school. And we all must do our part.
The vast majority of elementary schools have controlled access to school premises, including sign-in/sign-out and visitor badge policies for all visitors. I encourage parents to talk to their school principal, classroom teacher or school board to get more information on specific safety procedures in place at your child's school.
Our government has provided several safe school supports and resources, including the following:
- Safe Welcome Program -- our government provided funding through our Safe Welcome program to Ontario elementary schools who applied, to provide security devices to protect students from intruders. Indeed, those Ontario elementary schools are kept locked during the school day to prevent entry from anyone who does not have authorization from walking through their doors.
- Lockdown procedures -- while the Safe Welcome Program is unique to elementary schools, since 2011, every elementary and secondary school in Ontario is required to work with police to develop and maintain lockdown procedures and conduct two lockdown drills each school year. I have requested that the Deputy Minister ask every board to review their safety and emergency procedures, including lockdown drills.
- Professional development and training -- support has been provided for school and school board staff and local police services to implement the procedures at both the elementary and secondary levels.
At this time, students may need support from parents and educators to cope with their feelings about what happened. Kids Help Phone is a good resource for those who need support for grief or loss. In addition, boards and schools are providing information to parents about how to talk to their child.
I want to thank our teachers, support staff, and board administrators for their commitment to keep our children safe."