State Superintendent Candidates On Keeping Idaho Schools Safe

Posted at 5:50 PM, Feb 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-25 19:50:49-05

  In the wake of the mass school shooting at a South Florida high school, parents, teachers, and students are saying more needs to be done to protect children in the classroom.

  How do we make sure there are no school shootings in Idaho? 6 On Your Side asked that question to Sherri Ybarra and Jeff Dillon, the two people who want to be your next state public schools superintendent.

  The two people running for Idaho's' top education job have the same philosophy and say Idaho can do more to keep schools safe.
Both agree the focus needs to be on detecting students in crisis.

  "We are not prepared, the system as a whole, not just education, the system outside of education, we need more assistance to help kids with mental issues," said Jeff Dillon

  Sherri Ybarra also had an emphasis on mental health. Ybarra said "One of the things, years ago, that was cut out of the budget was elementary school counselors. That would be a long-term goal of mine to make sure schools and districts can put those back into place."

  As we reported, just last week, Superintendent Ybarra revealed a new initiative to 6 On Your Side.
She wants all educators to earn a safety credit as part of their continuing education. 

  "We want it to entail recognizing signs early and often and say something, hear something, do something," said Superintendent Ybarra.

    The Wilder Superintendent says school safety is all about communication and listening intently to children and understanding districts needs at the local level.

  "Don't do a blanket funding where everyone gets the same percentage based on the number of kids. What is it you need at that district to make your children safe," said Dillon

  As for arming teachers, both candidates are apprehensive. 

  Ybarra said, "I think about the mix of 5, 6, 7-year-olds in a building with weapons makes me very uneasy."

  Jeff Dillon had a similar opinion on arming teacher in Idaho, saying he "thinks there are other ways and avenues to begin to address this issue."

  Both Dillon and Ybarra say Idaho is not immune to school shootings, but both promise to work diligently to avoid this kind of tragedy on their watch. 

   Ybarra and dillion will face each other in the Republican primary in may.

   At this point, the Democrats do not have a candidate for superintendent. of public instruction.