(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – May 18, 2022 – The Ohio Department of Public Safety today released its 2021 Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC) annual report highlighting several school safety accomplishments, including the first Ohio School Safety Summit that attracted over 1,000 school and community leaders to learn about physical security, mental health, school climate, critical incident response, cybersecurity, and threat assessments.
Representing Ohio’s 88 counties and 23 other states, attendees accessed 68 summit presentations from over 100 subject-matter experts that have been viewed over 5,000 times.
“Having a team that wakes up every day thinking about how to improve school safety truly makes a difference in the lives of students, teachers, and staff who must be able to focus on learning during the school day,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said. “The Ohio School Safety Center’s accomplishments in 2021, including holding Ohio’s first School Safety Summit, reflect another year of great work.”
The content from the free, three-day summit in October proved particularly relevant to educators, transportation advisors, school administrators, school resource officers, first responders, mental health professionals, local/state/federal partners, elected officials, and other school safety and security professionals.
Other highlights of the annual report include:
- In 2021, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 110, the main operating budget, which included $2.7 million per year to be spent on personnel, equipment, developing a new emergency management submission portal for K-12 schools, annual school safety summits, and proactive social media scanning for both K-12 and higher education.
- The OSSC’s 2021 K-12 School Safety Grant Program, administered in partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), is awarding $5 million to qualifying public K-12 schools for physical security improvements.
- The OSSC also reviewed the $5 million 2021 Campus Safety Grant Program grants, in consultation with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, that were awarded to 27 higher education institutions in September to fund security enhancements on their campuses.
- The OSSC teamed up with a diverse group of experienced emergency management directors across Ohio to form the Ohio School Safety Center and Institutions of Higher Education Emergency Management Collaboration Group. This group created and published higher education emergency management toolkits for nine different incident types.
- The OSSC coordinates the state’s free 24-hour anonymous reporting system, the Safer Ohio School Tip Line, which can receive anonymous calls and text messages about school safety concerns. In 2021, OSSC focused on increasing awareness about the tip line, which led to more than a 100% increase in tips (316) as compared to 2020.
Governor DeWine created the OSSC in 2019. The OSSC works to assist local schools and law enforcement agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a holistic, solutions-based approach.