Department of Public Instruction Travels State Wide to Hear about School Safety Concerns

Behavioral health has been noted from the youngest students to the oldest in North Dakota.

FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota’s Superintendent of Public Instruction and other state officials are traveling from city to city to hear the public’s school safety concerns.

KVRR’s Jessie Cohen tells us about the forum held at Fargo South where parents, teachers, legislators and event students voiced their opinions.

The state wants to know what your biggest concerns are about school safety.

“What are their ideas about how they think we might be able to keep our students safer when they come to school or even just generally in our communities and number two what are they most worried about in their communities that they want to share with us and make us aware of,” said Kirsten Baesler, the North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Smaller schools and smaller class sizes keep everybody safer but it’s more expensive but where are our priorities in the long run,” said one audience member.

Now at the fourth city on its open forum tour, the Department of Public Instruction is getting a better idea.

“There aren’t enough providers of behavioral health for the students that need it the most in the state of North Dakota,” said Nick Archuleta, the North Dakota United President.

“Just because you have a sickness doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person,” said one audience member.

Behavioral health has been noted from the youngest students to the oldest.

“As a parent that’s a huge concern,” said one audience member.

But what steps can be taken to help those children?

“Great question,” said one audience member.

“Ensuring that we have school social workers in every elementary school,” Archuleta said.

Every community and every school is different but…

“I think the issues are the same the difference is the number in amount of resources that are available to assist with those issues,” Baesler said.

No single group can do this alone. Professionals say parents need to reach out to legislators…

“Which will determine how much funding your schools get and how much is available,” said one audience member.

And talk to teachers…

“That teacher voice is so vital in crafting a solution to some of the concerns that the parents have,” Archuleta said.

From just the first few visits, those with the state have a better grasp on community concerns.

“Number one break down the silos, number two behavioral health issues are a major issue across the state, number three support for those issues are very, very drastically different across the state, and number four we all have to have a role in making sure our kids are safe.” Baesler said.

“We’re going to have to see what comes of them so if there is communication that goes back to parents and goes back to school districts about what we learned in these forums that’s terrific,” Archuleta said.

If you didn’t make it to the forum, the Department of Public Instruction asks you to talk to your teachers, school boards, legislators or even contact the department to voice your concerns.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, North Dakota News, Politics / Elections