Berks Officials Discuss Mental Health and Social Media as Part of School Safety | Berk’s Regional News

READING, Pa. – School safety was the focus in Berks County on Thursday.

State and district leaders, along with District Attorney John Adams, sat down with school administrators and first responders to discuss mental health and improving classroom safety. The disagreement was in direct response to the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.

“The threat is serious,” said Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach. “It is real.”

Important interest groups from the entire district came together for the round table discussion. Though school safety and emergency preparedness are discussed annually, officials say the plans are evolving as the mass shootings increase.

“I would say the big shift that we’ve seen across the education community has to do with social media,” said Jill Hackman, executive director of the Berks County Intermediate Unit.

Hackman says social media and communications have expanded over the years, and she vowed her team will continue to monitor her for red flags and red flags.

“It’s about the continued commitment to our training, preparation and communication,” she said. “Those are the priority areas.”

Mental health was another important aspect of the forum.

“It has been highlighted that it is very difficult to get services for parents who may have children who need a psychological evaluation,” Leinbach said. “Human resources is a huge problem.”

Leinbach says that with these mental health issues come financial concerns.

“Schools have made it clear to the state that they need help with household issues related to mental health and also school safety,” he said.

In a survey of parents, Leinbach says the number one concern for their children is classroom safety. He calls it a disheartening realization that he’s committed to change.

“We’re going to set up a follow-up meeting,” he said, “and leading up to that meeting there will be a number of subcommittees looking at a number of issues.”

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