AllentownSchool District

Allentown School District Safety Task Force Steering Committee Announces School Safety Recommendations

Allentown School District Safety Task Force Steering Committee Announces School Safety Recommendations
Posted on 04/22/2021

ALLENTOWN, PA — The Allentown School District Safety Task Force Steering Committee made a number of recommendations to the Board of Directors on Thursday, April 22.

The Safety Task Force was formed to communicate with district and building-level safety committees on recommending change and processes related to the overall safety of students, staff, and community. In the Fall of 2020, the Task Force expanded to be inclusive of over 30 stakeholders including board members, district and building level leadership, teachers, students, parents, and community members. This group works collaboratively to review research on best practices relative to safe schools and to identify structures and services necessary to support a safe school environment.

The district continues to advance key threads of work that support the overall Strategic Framework, which includes a commitment to cultivating a culture where students feel safe, valued, and nurtured. The Safety Task Force has prioritized its work in two key areas: 

  • Providing recommendations to positively impact the overall social emotional wellness & safety of ASD students
  • Revising the MOU between ASD and the Allentown Police Department

“The Safety Task Force Steering Committee is proof that powerful change can be made when you bring a variety of stakeholders to the table,” said Thomas Parker, Superintendent of the Allentown School District. “This passionate group of individuals listened to our community and dedicated themselves to creating a safer environment for all students.”

Based on community feedback from surveys and focus groups, recommendations from the task force include:

  • Revisions & enhancements to the MOU based on research & stakeholder input
  • A focus on providing training and resources to improve culture and climate, including the continued implementation of Restorative Practices
  • Increasing mental health supports and services in all schools

One of the biggest accomplishments of this group is the revisions made to the existing MOU between ASD and APD. Continued collaboration resulted in significant adjustments including a clear definition of the roles of SRO’s and reciprocity of information sharing between the two partners. SROs will attend additional training specific to ASD that support the work they do in our buildings. The MOU also includes a formal complaint filing process for families. 

In the short term, APD will support the district this spring with a specialized hybrid response plan for SROs, which includes responding to incidents that require mandatory notification. A full implementation plan will be in effect for the fall. The updated MOU can be found on the ASD website under Operations > Safety Task Force.

On April 22, the Safety Task Force gave the following presentation to the ASD Board of Directors: