FLOYD COUNTY — New Albany-Floyd County Schools has formed a safety committee to guide planning in the school district.
Thomas Brillhart, NAFCS assistant superintendent of operations, gave an update on the new school safety advisory committee at Monday’s school board work session. The committee will meet for the first time Wednesday.
The committee will put together an “executive summary” with recommendations for the district to improve school safety, and it will guide the district’s strategic planning and annual budgeting, Brillhart said.
“The whole purpose behind the creation of the committee is to try and get as many respectful perspectives and ideas on paper to where we can start to really do a deep dive on what are our greatest needs for 2023 on the topic of school safety that impact our kids and our families,” he said.
The goal is for the committee to finish the summary next April to be considered by the board in May, according to Brillhart. The committee will look into “sustainable resources for long-term success and implementation.”
The safety committee currently consists of 35 people from various sectors in the district and community. It includes members of the NAFCS central office, school board members, building administrators and teachers, as well as district representatives who work in the fields of health services, mental health and special education.
Both the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and New Albany Police Department are represented. The committee also includes 12 parents, who were selected after completing a survey on the NAFCS website earlier this month.
“We purposely tried to make the group very diverse when it comes to backgrounds and experiences and positions, and we didn’t want to only have folks with a background related to law enforcement or only mental health or only security or only technology or whatever that may be,” Brillhart said. “We really wanted to try and make it as robust as we possibly could.”
The committee will have a comprehensive focus on various aspects of school safety.
“We really need to think more broadly when it comes to, OK, as of today in 2023, what are our greatest threats or needs that our students have when it relates to their safety and wellbeing,” Brillhart said. “That’s pretty broad. That’s from a physicality standpoint, from an emotional standpoint, from a mental health standpoint.”
The meetings will not be open to the public due to the specific information that will be discussed on the topic of school safety, Brillhart said.
“It’s a confidential meeting just because of the sheer topic,” he said. “It’s not because we’re trying to keep things secret. The sensitivity of some of the things we might be discussing…it’s protected by statute. I think it’s wise for us to go down that path and just make sure we’re being respectful to certain items we might be trying to drill down on and get specifics with.”
The committee will “create and prioritize holistic safety recommendations that are student and staff-centered,” he said.
“We will remain diligent, respectful and confidential as we progress through the committee’s goals,” Brillhart said.
This conversation is a continued effort within the school district, he said.
“It’s not about fixing every problem — it’s about fixing our biggest problems and really trying to hone in on what’s the best we can do with the current resources that we have for the betterment of our kids and our staff,” Brillhart said. “Honestly, any step forward we’re making in this endeavor is one step further to success than we were yesterday, so that’s a positive.”