As the first presidential debate on June 27th approaches, school safety contractors have a vested interest in understanding the candidates' positions on critical issues that impact their industry. Here are the three key areas contractors should be listening for:

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1. Holistic Safety Approach vs. Focus on Physical Security

Holistic Safety Approach (Biden Administration):

President Biden's administration has emphasized a comprehensive approach to school safety. This includes:

- Physical Security: Traditional security measures such as secure entrances and surveillance systems.

- Mental Health Support: Increased funding and resources for mental health services within schools.

- Social-Emotional Learning: Programs aimed at helping students develop emotional intelligence and resilience.

- Community Engagement Initiatives: Efforts to involve parents, local organizations, and law enforcement in creating a safe and supportive school environment.

Focus on Physical Security (Trump Campaign):

Former President Trump's campaign has primarily focused on bolstering physical security measures, including:

- Metal Detectors: Installation at school entrances to prevent weapons from entering school premises.

- Armed Guards: Deployment of trained security personnel to monitor and protect school grounds.

- Fortification of School Buildings: Enhancements to building security to make it more difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access.

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2. Armed Personnel in Schools

Trump Campaign's Proposal:

The Trump campaign has shown strong support for the presence of armed personnel in schools. This includes proposals to arm teachers and staff as a deterrent against potential threats. The idea is that armed educators and staff can provide an immediate response to any incidents, potentially reducing the severity of an attack before law enforcement arrives.

Biden Administration's Stance:

The Biden administration has been less enthusiastic about arming teachers and staff, focusing instead on preventative measures and a holistic approach to security. While not entirely opposed to the presence of armed personnel, the emphasis is on creating a supportive environment that addresses root causes of violence.

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3. Different Approaches on Mental Health

Biden Administration's Focus:

Under President Biden, there has been a significant push to allocate funds specifically for mental health services within schools. This includes:

- Dedicated Programs: Funding for programs that provide mental health support directly to students.

- Security Enhancements: Comprehensive measures that integrate mental health and physical security.

- Community Engagement Initiatives: Programs designed to foster a supportive community environment.

Trump Campaign's Approach:

During Trump's administration, mental health services were not neglected but were not prioritized to the same extent as physical security measures. The focus was more on immediate, tangible security enhancements rather than on addressing underlying mental health issues that could contribute to school violence.

Conclusion

As the debate unfolds, school safety contractors should pay close attention to how each candidate plans to address these crucial areas. The differences in approach could have significant implications for future policies, funding opportunities, and the overall direction of school safety initiatives. Understanding these distinctions will help contractors align their strategies with the prevailing political landscape and better serve the needs of schools and communities.

Governments Discuss School Security

In the last 90 days, school safety utilizing innovative technology has been mentioned in over 85 government meetings. These meetings include discussions by the Michigan House of Representatives regarding the unique approaches needed by rural schools in cases of incidents, the Maryland Senate Energy and Education Committee discussing the value of technology in school safety, and the Newburyport School Committee discussing their current work with their technology vendor and how it has improved their school.

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