SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Violence in the halls and online has hit Springfield public schools for the entire fall semester. The district is unveiling a plan of action after a month where two students were stabbed — one of them died — and a series of online threats were made.
“We are really working diligently to make sure that our schools are safe, that we have crisis planning in place, and that we are ready for just about anything that might be thrown our way,” Superintendent Jennifer Gill said.
District officials, law enforcement and behavioral health experts held a forum to talk to solutions. Most of the conversation hinged on response to crises on school grounds. Police Chief Kenny Winslow says the proper plans need to be in place.
“You just again, you can’t prevent every situation, you just have to be able to respond as best as we can, and try to mitigate the threat,” Winslow said.
Memorial Behavioral Health had two experts join the panel. The district is partnering with memorial behavioral health to provide students with on-site services to help them deal with issues before they get out of control.
“It decreases the burden upon families or, you know, guardians, caretakers, of getting children to and from behavioral health appointments,” Amber Olson with Memorial Behavioral Health said. “And then we’re meeting the child in, in kind of like their work, it would be like us being able to walk down the hall and see a therapist when we’re at work.”
School counselors also gave a system they feel is more important than ever following all of the violence — and the ongoing troubles that come from dealing with the pandemic — are causing for kids.
The forum was hosted by NPR Illinois. NPR will air the full recording at a later date.