COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced that 16 Ohio high school students have been selected for the inaugural Ohio Student Safety Advisory Council within the Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC).
DeWine announced plans for the student-led council in April. The group will work with OSSC leadership to identify school safety concerns and develop innovative solutions to address them.
“Involving students in improving school safety is important because they know what is happening in our schools better than anyone,” said DeWine. “Students are well-positioned to help protect their fellow students, their teachers, and staff, and we welcome their valuable input.”
Findings from the student-based monthly council meetings will be delivered to the Governor’s Ohio School Safety Working Group to generate statewide solutions and supports.
“We initially envisioned a 10-member Student Safety Advisory Council, but we had so many quality applications from students who want to make a difference that we expanded the council to 16 members,” said OSSC Administrator Emily Torok.
The council will be invited to attend the in-person Ohio School Safety Summit on Aug. 2 to 4 at the Columbus Convention Center to network with their peers and attend initial informational sessions on violence prevention strategies.
Council members will develop strategies to encourage their peers to actively engage in maintaining a safe school environment and will be advocates for students’ overall well-being. Students will work directly with OSSC school safety liaisons to organize events, focus groups, and trainings to help highlight student success and safety best practices at various schools. These members will also act as a sounding board for the Ohio School Safety Working Group and OSSC on student marketing campaigns and other projects to ensure that student voices are represented.
Students selected for the Ohio Student Safety Advisory Council include:
• Isaac Bai, Solon High School in Cuyahoga County
• Brady Burns, Loveland High School in Hamilton County
• Nadia Star Cantelli, Edison High School in Erie County
• Devin Duncan, Fairfield Senior High School in Butler County
• Marin Funderburg, Piqua High School in Miami County
• Augusta Halle, Hawken Upper School in Geauga County
• Ashley He, Upper Arlington High School in Franklin County
• Caylee Hockenberry, Dover High School in Tuscarawas County
• Jacob Kolar, Valley Stem + Me2 Academy in Mahoning County
• Jordan Lewis, Butler High School in Montgomery County
• Helen Liu, Athens High School in Athens County
• Ananya Mahavratayajula, Sycamore High School in Hamilton County
• Jason Miner, John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Trumbull County
• Francesca Parker, Big Walnut High School in Delaware County
• Catherine Stella Soeder, Saint Ursula Academy in Lucas County
• Julia Stoddard-Dare, Twinsburg High School in Summit County
DeWine created the Ohio School Safety Center in 2019. It is housed within the Ohio Department of Public Safety and works to assist local schools, colleges and universities, and law enforcement agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a holistic, solutions-based approach to improving school safety.