School Safety Today: The Role of Wellbeing in Building a Culture of School Safety

Safety in schools is of the utmost importance. As such, host Bobby Brill speaks with author and school counselor Molly Hudgens about her heroic story and the importance of student wellbeing as it pertains to school safety.

Hudgens, a School Counselor and Author of Saving Sycamore: The School Shooting That Never Happened, served first as an educator for eight years before pivoting to counseling in her district’s middle school.

In 2016, an armed 8th-grade student came into her office. Distressed, he said he was planning to harm students and staff and that he felt she might be the only one to convince him otherwise.

What happened next was a testament to Hudgens’ philosophy in regards to what it means to be a school counselor and provide a supportive environment for her students. Hudgens said Sycamore allowed her the freedom and supportive environment to show the students and staff that student well-being is a serious and important topic.

“…Our school, in particular, was light years ahead of where we needed to be in terms of counseling,” said Hudgens. Hudgens noted that she follows three steps to help support student well-being and school safety. The first is to make sure they are physically safe. Secondly, it is vital to address mental health concerns students or staff may have. Thirdly, Hudgens teaches students and staff about wellbeing and educates them on mental health topics.

“There was always an open-door opportunity for students to meet with a counselor,” said Hudgens. She noted that counselors in Sycamore just have to focus on helping students. There are no expectations to make student schedules or help with testing. This provides flexibility in providing counseling for those who need it. Hudgens explained, “Our focus has always been primarily on addressing student and family needs.”

In this episode of School Safety Today, Hudgens shares her story while discussing elements she believes helps make schools successful in developing a culture of school safety and wellbeing for staff and students.

For 30 years, Raptor Technologies has provided school safety software with the mission to protect every child, every school, every day. Raptor is trusted to protect over 50,000 K-12 schools worldwide and maintains an annual client retention rate of greater than 98% with its visitor and volunteer management, emergency management, Raptor Alert and other software solutions.

In June 2022, Raptor introduced StudentSafeTM, a first-of-its-kind patent-pending software platform designed to help school staff connect the dots on students in distress by providing a seamless way for all staff to recognize, document, support, and manage low-level concerns of individual students. For more information on Raptor Technologies, visit raptortech.com.

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