Cookeville – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the launch of the new School Safety Toolkit for Tennessee Families, a practical resource to help parents prepare and engage in their child’s school safety plan after his issuing of Executive Order 97 to enhance school safety in Tennessee earlier this year.

“We echo what Governor Lee has stated, ‘There is nothing more important than the safety of our children.’ I want to applaud our school district, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, our municipal law enforcement departments, and Emergency Management Agency team for their commitment to the safety of our schools,” said Putnam County School System Director of Schools Corby King. “We are fortunate to have a proactive partnership with them.”

Putnam County schools had already implemented or completed most of the accountability measures and evaluations in Executive Order 97, and now there is an extended opportunity for families to engage in school safety. 

“We are grateful to have School Resource Officers in every PCSS building who have helped to conduct or coordinate required safety training. PCSS has budgeted state grant monies to improve school safety and school emergency plans are being updated. There is always room to improve, and the safety team meets regularly to assess our plans. Governor Lee and his team have provided additional opportunities for families to be involved and have resources available to them with the toolkit that includes the new SafeTN app that families can download,” said King.

The SafeTN app has options for families or students to send a tip and report criminal or suspicious behavior. It also houses resources related to mental health, substance abuse and bullying.

“We encourage parents to download the app,” said King. “The State of Tennessee and PCSS want to remind families and students that if there is an emergency, please call 911 immediately as there are trained emergency responders who can implement protocols quickly.”

Putnam County Schools remains extremely proactive when it comes to mental health and bullying through Student Services. Their focus is on safety, mental health, and family and community engagement.

“We have trained personnel who are able to identify and investigate any situation that may be taking place within the PCSS,” said Dr. Trey Upchurch, PCSS Student Services Supervisor. “PCSS uses Gaggle on all school emails, Google drives, Google Docs, and more to alert school officials if any words or photos are identified as a threat. When it comes to mental health, our school counselors, school psychologists and Social Emotional Learning coordinator are extremely proactive and work to meet the mental health needs of PCSS students, faculty and staff.”

Governor Lee, The Tennessee Department of Education, Safety & Homeland Security and Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services have come together to offer some tips for families.

  • Use the SafeTN app.
  • Familiarize yourself with school leadership and opportunities to be present at school functions.
  • Keep an eye out for warning signs and learn how to address student concerns, such as bullying.
  • Know how to access mental health resources in your community.
  • Ask about your child’s school emergency plans.
  • Look for opportunities to partner with or volunteer at your child’s school.
  • Reach out if you need support- resources are available and can be shared.

“These tips will help families engage in the joint effort of school safety, and we encourage PCSS families to really look at the local resources available to their students. Your school’s counselor or a person you or your child trust is a great place to start if a situation is taking place that needs to be addressed or if suspicious activity is noticed. See something, say something that is crucial to school safety,” said King. “We want to thank Governor Lee and the team for their commitment to keeping Tennessee children safe in our schools and providing resources to school districts across the state.”

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