School of Education News

Underwood co-authors op-ed urging policymakers to make schools safer

January 03, 2020

UW-Madison’s Julie Underwood recently co-authored an op-ed published by The Capital Times newspaper that’s headlined, “Stop playing politics with our children and make schools safer.”

Underwood is the Susan Engeleiter Professor of Education Law, Policy and Practice with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. She penned this op-ed in her role as president of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools. The op-ed is co-authored with Heather DuBois Bourenane, the executive director of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, and Jenni Hofschulte, the vice president of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools.

The op-ed begins: “Our hearts go out to the children, educators and families who have been traumatized by violence and threats of violence in their schools this month, and we applaud the school communities that put student safety first in all they do. We see the love that has been wrapped around these communities and take hope in it. But we also acknowledge that the impacts will be long-lasting, and even a threat that was proven non-credible can be deeply traumatizing for students, who may be searching for a trusted adult to talk to.”

The op-ed continues: “Last week, there were more than 10 separate incidents of gun-related violence or threats of violence in Wisconsin public schools. Our children and educators are being told and trained to expect this, but not funded sufficiently to prevent it or deal with its impacts.

“We are not OK with any of this. … Wisconsin can and must do school safety smarter to make sure every student has the resources, support and one-on-one attention they need to thrive.”

To learn more about this important but nuanced topic, check out the entire op-ed via this web page.

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