Matthew Taylor, director of the Montana Safe Schools Center at The University of Montana, is one of 60 people invited by the White House to help inform President Barack Obama’s school anti-violence initiatives this week in Washington, D.C.
Taylor was nominated to participate in the discussions by the U.S. Department of Education. Other attendees include educators, law enforcement, emergency management professionals, faith leaders, mental health experts and victims of gun violence.
The group will meet Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House to discuss what should be included in plans to support Obama’s recent 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence, including an action to create model emergency management plans for schools, institutions of higher education and houses of worship, and to provide best practices for training students and staff to follow these plans.
“I was very pleased and honored to receive the invitation,” Taylor said. “I think it’s an extension of the work the Montana Safe Schools Center does here in Montana and also at the national level. We have been working with the Department of Education on emergency management issues closely since 2004.”
Taylor also serves as associate director of the Institute for Educational Research and Service in UM’s Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, which incorporates the Montana Safe Schools Center. MSSC creates curriculum for schools on suicide prevention, school emergency exercises and incorporating crisis management structures such as the incident command system, which is widely used by police, fire and emergency medical services across the country.
Through MSSC and the IERS National Native Children’s Trauma Center, Taylor and colleagues John Frederikson, Marilyn Zimmerman, Amy Foster Wolferman and IERS Director Rick van den Pol also provide input to the Department of Education on training curriculum based in the four phases of emergency management, as relevant to schools: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
“In particular, the mental-health recovery phase links to IERS’s work with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and efforts to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder and secondary trauma, as well as enhance resilience for American Indian and Alaska Native children and the educators who serve them,” Taylor said.