Iowa City schools safety advisory committee brings change in its first year

West High sophomore Dasia Taylor 


Iowa City, IOWA, (CBS2/Fox28) -- West High sophomore Dasia Taylor can still remember the impact the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had on her school.

"Usually West High is a happy place. It's very uplifting for everyone, but that day it was just like a cloud was over everyone's shoulder," explained Taylor.

Taylor is now one of fifteen people involved in the Iowa City Community School District's school safety advisory committee. The team was established in June of 2018, as a result of the shooting that February in Parkland. District leaders put out a call for action to make the committee and received 200 applications.


Students, parents, staff, district administrators, and members of law enforcement make up the committee. The team's goal is to provide ideas to the Board on ways to improve safety and security measures already in place, as well as come up with new programs to implement.

Within the last six years, the Iowa City Community School District has spent $10 million on security and safety improvements. Many of those improvements include fencing, adding surveillance cameras inside and outside of buildings, and secure entrances.

One major change the team has brought so far this year goes beyond additions. It's called the "Say Something" Campaign. It encourages staff and students to be better prepared on when to speak up before it's too late.

"Our students are the ones that are out there on the social media platforms. They are the ones that are most likely to see potential threats or concerning behaviors," said Kate Callahan, the director of services at the Iowa City Community School District.

The committee has approached other topics such as adding school resource officers and assessing current safety drills are other topics the team has investigated this year.

"Looking at how we're going to make our school safe is not just one particular strategy, but a blend of several," said Callahan.

Both Callahan and Taylor say they hope to improve the "Say Something" Campaign going into the next school year, making sure students and staff know what to look for even outside of school, like on social media.

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