Madison School Board must take the lead on school safety

Capital Times Editorial:

Nor did the letter consider the slow public response from Cheatham.

We understand that board members may be disinclined to air personnel matters. But a full and meaningful response to students and staffers must recognize that concerns exist.

It also must acknowledge that East is not an outlier, as recent reports of incidents at La Follette High School make clear.

The message from the educators at East called for mandatory training for security personnel on sexual assault and rape culture. That would be a good first step.

A good second step would be for the board to embrace the wise counsel coming from students such as Memorial High School senior Kari Larson. “Many youth have already endured sexual abuse or rape by the time they are 12. Having the Rape Crisis Center come in during 10th-grade health classes is not enough,” explained Larson. “In addition, these presentations must be improved or extended to not only cover healthy relationships or consent as they do now, but also a detailed plan about how to get help at school if one has been sexually assaulted.”

Taking action, especially action that is informed by the ideas of students and teachers, confirms a commitment on the part of the board to setting standards and demanding accountability.