Committees Request School Safety Funds for Colorado County to go Toward Mental Health, Standardization

School Safety Funds for Colorado County to go Toward Mental Health Standardization

After two committees presented different ways funding could be used toward Douglas County school safety, two themes consistently came up — mental health support and safety standardization.

Two committees presented ideas on how to use funding for Douglas County schools safety, with the main themes revolving around two major approaches — standardizing schools’ plans and equipment, and better supporting young people dealing with mental illnesses and trauma.

Although it isn’t clear how much of each approach the Douglas County commissioners will be able to fund, they voted in May to provide $13.3 million for school security. Broken down, this is $10 million in one-time money, $3 million in ongoing funds for police officers in schools, which schools must match, and $300,000 for a mental health response team to assist when students are in crisis.

On the subject of mental health, Sarah Ericson, director of diversion in the 18th Judicial District, spoke on behalf of the Supportive Mental Health for Students Funding Committee. She said the group recommends putting money toward culture assessments at schools, programs on social-emotional learning, suicide prevention, and mental health support, a new position to help young people navigate the mental health system, and a public campaign to raise awareness of resources and to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

“We want our students to be equipped to talk positively about mental health,” Ericson said.

Clinton Dorris, CEO of marketing company Lux Global presented the physical safety committee’s findings. He said they found that consistency was the most important thing for school physical safety, including schools’ safety plans, equipment and training, and the mindsets of law enforcement and parents.

“It doesn’t have to be the best [equipment or program],” Dorris said. “What wins the day is consistency.”

About the Author

Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.