BILLINGS – School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck said Tuesday that more mental health funding and school security is needed to help combat rising school shootings.
In an email newsletter to parents and staff, Bouck also reminded attendees of the May 27 graduation for Skyview, Senior and West that new security procedures are in place.
Bouck’s letter comes a week after a student killed 10 people and wounded 10 more at Santa Fe High School in Texas.
Bouck is retiring as superintendent at the end of the school year and is running for the Montana state Senate.
Here’s the full letter:
Dear Parents, Students, Staff, Trustees, and Community Members,
As we face another tragic loss of life as the result of a school shooting, I find I am also at a loss for words. Our job is to protect and nurture children and these events fly in the face of all that we, as school districts, are about. Our hearts are heavy as we now come to terms with what appears to be the "new norm." But I want to urge our parents, staff, and community that it doesn’t need to be the case.
Naturally, the inclination in such situations is to find fault and blame, and there is plenty to go around. Solutions are harder to come by. But there are a few things that we can focus on as a society to, at a minimum, help.
The first is to restore and continue mental health funding for our schools and communities. This pivotal piece of the puzzle is so vital and yet, it is so often overlooked. We have taken great strides in recent years to improve recognition of the importance of mental health in our students, and I urge us to continue the progress throughout Montana.
Another is, unfortunately, the need for increased security in our schools. Again, we have moved forward considerably in doing all that we can do to provide expanded security measures. However, a lack of state and federal funding for education and infrastructure has been detrimental to our state and 400+ public schools in Montana.
As you are likely aware, graduation this year has enhanced security in place. These changes have been communicated in emails, news articles, and mailings to the homes of graduates. Absolutely no exceptions will be made, and we encourage everyone attending graduation to review them prior to leaving for the ceremony. These and other security measures recently put into place are designed to keep everyone as safe as possible. I ask that you help BPS in our efforts to do so.
I pray that this will be the last of these messages and ask that each and every member of our community reflect on solutions. Our children deserve us doing what we can in our corner of the world.
Terry Nelsen Bouck