Blunt Safeguards Students' Safety
Announces Creation of Missouri Alert Network
BRANSON – Gov. Matt Blunt today announced a new tool to help secure safe learning environments for Missouri students and classrooms. At the first Missouri Conference on Coordinated School Safety and Security the governor announced the state is partnering with the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) to create the Missouri Alert Network.
“In order for our children to succeed in school we must provide them with a safe and secure learning environment,” Gov. Blunt said. “This innovative partnership between the state and the Missouri School Boards’ Association will allow state officials to make immediate contact with local school officials during an emergency who can then take all necessary action to protect our children and classrooms.”
“We are delighted to be able to provide this system to schools throughout Missouri,” said MSBA Executive Director Dr. Carter D. Ward. “A system such as this is a critical tool in our continuing effort to provide the safest possible environment for our students and staff.”
The Missouri Alert Network is a rapid notification system for K-12 schools and other entities, and would be activated in the event of a statewide emergency or other situation that might endanger the security of Missouri students. The network allows state officials to contact local schools within minutes of an emergency. The decision to activate the network is made by the Department of Public Safety.
There is no cost to school districts to join in the system for one contact and participation is open to all K-12 public and non-public schools in Missouri. Additionally, options will be available for law enforcement, other emergency responders, and higher education institutions to take part in the network.
Gov. Blunt recently unveiled recommendations from his Campus Security Task Force created in the wake of the tragic events at Virginia Tech. The task force recommended increased communication among local and university law enforcement; university and college faculty, staff and students; and state and federal partners who could assist in the event of an emergency. The report also recognizes mental health as a key function of any emergency operations plan and the need for more widespread education about the mental health needs of responders and victims.
In addition, the governor introduced a new approach to homeland security in Missouri that for the first time officially includes the education community. He added education representatives to the Regional Homeland Security Oversight Committees and called on educators to get involved in school safety planning. The governor also took part in “Enhancing School Safety: A Dialog on Targeted School Violence.” The Internet based program provided a forum for the state, schools, parents and law enforcement to discuss the issue of school safety and goals for keeping our schools and children safe.
Since taking office Blunt has secured more than half a billion dollars in new funding for Missouri students and classrooms. The funding helps ensure schools have the resources they need to provide a world class education.