DeWine is visiting the Valley as part of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber’s Salute to Business.
With the school year underway, DeWine highlighted steps his administration is doing to detect, intervene and hopefully prevent acts of violence inside schools.
The Hub at the Ohio Department of Public Safety is expanding their ability to monitor and track potential threats on social media and will share that information with local school and local law enforcement.
“We have the software now where if someone puts something up on social media that indicates that’s a threat to a school or a threat to a community — if we can pick that up, we are going to act on that and get that information immediately back to the local police, the local sheriff or the school,” DeWine said.
Assisting schools in helping staff identify potential threats is a large part of new initiatives this year.
Ohio’s schools are implementing the “Know the Signs” safety program across the state. The program helps school staff identify potential threats of violent action and take steps to intervene. There are 23 training dates already scheduled.
“One of the great concerns that we should have is for our schools and the safety of our schools. You put a child on a school bus and you have the right to think that child is going to be OK and safe,” DeWine said.
The state’s school safety tip line is expanded, in which kids and adults can call or text anonymously to (844) 723-3764 with tips about potential school violence.
DeWine says the tip line is a way to help people speak up about concerns that often help officials track down and prevent a threat.
“In virtually every one of these mass shootings that we have seen over the last years, there have been a lot of warning signs early on that were ignored that people did not pay attention to,” DeWine said. “If there is a student in school that’s having some problems — some mental health problems, some anti-social behavior — let’s try to get them help.”
Over $670 million has been set aside in the Ohio budget this year for “wrap-around” support services for schools, which include after-school programs, tutoring, counseling and other support services for at-risk students.