Superintendent Arntzen Meets with President on School Safety
Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen was in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to meet with President Donald Trump and members of his cabinet to discuss matters of school safety.
“We had parents and family members of survivors of our most recent violent attacks in schools, and this was what the President discussed today with all of us, and Montana had an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for having a full national school safety commission get together and not have it be a mandate out to rural schools, but to compile ideas on prevention and protection and how we respond and recover from an incident that we hope never happens in Montana.”
Arntzen said she spoke directly to the President with several other officials.
“I was there with 17 others in the Roosevelt room,” she said. “Then a few of us went into the oval office and the main discussion was about how we protect our children in what should be a safe environment. I said in a very rural state like Montana where we have teachers who are leaders in the schools, what can the state and local officials, not the federal government can do, and he listened. I was the only school official who was invited to this table and it was very heartwarming.”
Arntzen said the discussion turned to making schools as safe as possible, and she felt that Montana’s voice was heard.
“It was very heartfelt and very warm,” she said. “I can tell you that all of the government officials around the table, all of the secretaries that came together to create a unified discussion on how to keep communities safe, how to keep our children safe. They listened to Montana and that local flavor, and I was very honored to serve in that capacity.”
Arntzen said if she was going to give Montana a grade for the appearance at the White House, ‘we are probably a high B-plus on everything we’re doing to protect our students and teachers.’