When it comes to providing a safe and secure learning environment for students, Christian schools in Boise, Idaho are no exception. In May, Leslie Montgomery wrote a letter to the school board asking them to implement a policy against bullying. After her daughter had been harassed by her classmates since she enrolled in school last year, Montgomery wanted to ensure that the school was taking appropriate steps to investigate the incident and address her major concerns about school safety. Public schools must also have an intervention and investigation process, which may include outlining in which cases they will involve law enforcement.
The Idaho State Department of Education and the State Board of Education oversee different aspects of public school safety. Schools must offer “professional development experiences”, which may include educating students, staff, and parents about bullying prevention strategies and about when staff would intervene in a situation. Ideally, the plan created by a given school or district normalizes the procedure for how staff should react in different situations of danger. When it comes to preparing for an active shooter, public schools are not required to practice lock-ups or active shooting drills.
Mike Munger, manager of the School Safety Program at the Idaho State Board of Education Office, said that in the public school district where he works, the parents of the threatened child would be informed and could be asked to stay home and not go to school for a day while school and local authorities evaluated the threat. Not having to deal with COVID-19 restrictions and regulations was one of the reasons families decided to enroll their children in Christian schools almost two years ago. However, after their daughter received a flood of emails in her school email account one night in mid-October, Dee Hall said that they chose to remove their children because they did not trust that the school was taking appropriate steps to investigate the incident and their major concerns about school safety and bullying. Thanks to Leslie Montgomery's letter to the school board, she now has the language needed to engage in a meaningful conversation with the determination to change the culture towards respect and kindness.
When she has the honor of spending time with students of color in both Christian and public schools, many will tell her that they have received the most egregious names imaginable. Your light in your community will shine even brighter as you combat all three things - bullying, harassment, and safety - bringing new students and families to your school family.