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Ensuring School Safety: Addressing Drugs and Violence Tops Agenda at Maryland Center’s Annual Conference

School safety remains a top priority for Maryland’s educational institutions as they gather annually at the Maryland Center for School Safety Conference. Law enforcement agencies and school officials from across the state convene to exchange insights and strategies on tackling safety challenges proactively.

Amid the past school year, several Maryland school districts faced an alarming increase in violent incidents, leading them to augment staff and revise safety plans. The feeling of isolation is not uncommon, but the conference offers a valuable opportunity for professionals like Baltimore County Schools official, April Lewis, to connect with others experiencing similar day-to-day situations.

This year, the conference emphasizes the importance of establishing partnerships with external agencies to address critical issues like student behavior and mental health. By forming alliances, schools can access valuable support and guidance when faced with challenges throughout the academic year.

A growing concern among educators is the rising number of drug overdoses among students, with some cases linked to the dangerous drug fentanyl. State health officials urge schools to equip themselves with Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal medication. Having Narcan readily available in all 24 jurisdictions across the state can save lives, and Maryland public health analyst Sabrina Gattine emphasizes the significance of empowering students to respond effectively during such emergencies.

Tragically, last year saw the loss of five Montgomery County students due to drug overdoses, highlighting the urgency for comprehensive measures and preparedness.

Each summer, the conference adds new agenda items based on the previous school year’s experiences, ensuring that school safety training remains current and effective. Through collaboration and proactive measures, Maryland schools strive to create safer and more secure learning environments for all students.

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