Montana's Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen will serve on a national school safety committee established in response to the frequency of school shootings over the last few months, according to a press release sent Tuesday.

The committee was established by the nonpartisan group Council of Chief State School Officers in response to the Parkland school shooting in February where 17 people were killed. 

The release said stopping school violence continues to be a priority after more recent school shootings in Texas and Maryland. 

The nonprofit works to create an equitable education system and said providing a safe school environment is crucial. The committee will identify state-based policies on school safety by evaluating security measures, the availability of mental health services and whether curriculum addresses students' social and emotional needs. Committee members will be responsible for finding ways to share best practices and develop ways to involve education stakeholders and community members.

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Arntzen is one of 12 state education leaders selected to sit on the committee.

“Our students must feel safe in school. With Montana’s rural nature, we know that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to school safety, however, it is critical that we come together to promote new ideas that could help our communities be better prepared to prevent and respond to tragedies," Arntzen said in a statement. 

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The other 11 committee members include: 

  • Jillian Balow, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Wyoming
  • Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner of Education, Minnesota
  • Tony Dearman, Director, Bureau of Indian Education
  • Michael Johnson, Commissioner of Education and Early Development, Alaska
  • Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent of Education, Hawaii
  • Lamont Repollet, Commissioner of Education, New Jersey
  • Pedro Rivera, Secretary of Education, Pennsylvania
  • Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, Maryland
  • Pam Stewart, Commissioner of Education, Florida
  • Dianna Wentzell, Commissioner of Education, Connecticut
  • Ryan Wise, Director of Education, Iowa

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Education / Business Reporter

Education and Business Reporter for The Independent Record.

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