The Safe Schools Project

The Safe Schools Project

Our Mission:
We are committed to promoting the well-being of every student by advocating for student-centered measures that prioritize safety and inclusivity.

Mission Statement
Established in 2018, The Safe Schools Project is a nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy group led by educators dedicated to fostering safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments in South Carolina schools. Our goals encompass three key pillars:

Enhanced Mental Health Support:
Recognizing the pivotal role school counselors and mental health professionals play in students' li

Operating as usual

North Charleston, CCSD form commission to ‘improve student outcomes’ 12/06/2023

“In 29 years as Mayor of North Charleston, this is the first time a superintendent has requested to meet with me with specific strategies to improve outcomes for our children,” Mayor Summey said. “I’m hopeful about what Reggie and Anita will do together for the students of North Charleston. They have served this community for decades and have a genuine love for our children coupled with a no-nonsense leadership style. It’s time for our students to have a seat at the table, and these action-focused leaders are the right team to meet the needs of the North Charleston community.” Reggie Burgess Anita Williams Huggins

North Charleston, CCSD form commission to ‘improve student outcomes’ NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A new effort is underway between the Charleston County School District (CCSD) and North Charleston to strengthen student outcomes. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summe…


Calling all CCSD parents, apply to join our Parent & Community Advisory Council!

Application Link:

CCSD Department of School Support


Happy National Special Education Day - December 2. Please take a moment to reach out to all your friends in this profession, and thank them for their service to our students and families!

Beginning in 1971, a U.S. District Court case in the District of Columbia, Mills v. Board of Education, ruled it unlawful to deny exceptional children, including those with mental and learning disabilities publicly funded educational opportunities. Court cases like this led to the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act which was signed by President Gerald Ford on November 29th. The federal legislation required states that accept federal money to provide equal access to children with disabilities. Additional protections were added in 1986 to support parents and educators in creating an education plan for children with disabilities. In 1990, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and improved access for all children with developmental delay. Through the years, the act has been enhanced to improve services and standards throughout the educational system.


PSTA released the following statement in response to the publication of the 2023 Educator Supply and Demand Report.

Given the continued growth of educator shortages in South Carolina, PSTA calls on elected officials and school district leaders to implement the policy recommendations found in the 2023 Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force report as well as the proposals outlined in the 2024 PSTA R.E.A.C.H. Agenda.


Grateful to those who champion safe schools, for they embody Margaret Mead's wisdom: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”


Thank you Jim Hennigan for speaking up and out for our students!
“Not all parents can be excellent educators, especially not those parents who are unabashedly (even proudly) resistant to helping children marvel at the beauty of the world around them as safely as public schools do.”

Pay raises, contract reform, school safety among teachers’ 2024 legislative priorities 11/21/2023

𝗣𝗮𝘆 𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘀𝗲𝘀, 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺, 𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝘀𝗮𝗳𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗺𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀’ 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟰 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗶𝘀𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀

By Mary Green
Published: Nov. 20, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - In just a handful of weeks, state lawmakers will be back in Columbia to tackle issues facing South Carolinians.

One of those challenges, affecting hundreds of thousands of students and families across the state, is the worsening teacher shortage.

The two lead groups that advocate for educators at the State House say addressing the growing issue remains a top priority for the next legislative session.

For both the Palmetto State Teachers Association and the South Carolina Education Association, that involves raising the statewide starting salary for teachers for another year.

Gov. Henry McMaster and State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver have both voiced their support for boosting teachers’ minimum pay up to $50,000 by 2026.

“We’ve seen states like Tennessee and Arkansas have gotten their minimum pay to $50,000, so the quicker we can get there, the better,” Patrick Kelly of the Palmetto State Teachers Association said. “But at minimum, we need a $2,500 raise to the statewide minimum salary schedule to keep us on track to reach the goal of the governor by 2026.”

That would bring the starting salary up to $45,000, but both groups reiterated that raising minimum pay alone won’t turn around the shortage in classrooms across the state.

Sherry East of the South Carolina Education Association said her organization is backing “anything and everything that deals with the teacher shortage: pay, benefits, housing projects.”

East said they also want the legislature to go beyond raising starting teacher pay.

“Whatever we move it to, we want to see it be equitable across the board to make sure that everybody in the system sees something, including our support staff,” she said.

Kelly of the PSTA pointed to two bills that the legislature has already advanced and can pick up when they return.

One bill, H.4280, would empower teachers more in the contract process, a priority for both groups.

Teachers sign their contracts in May, but the state budget is typically not finalized until June, so they don’t know exactly how much they will be making the next school year until weeks after they sign.

“You get locked in,” East said. “You can get transferred, you can get whatever, and the district kind of owns you for the next school year.”

The legislation, which has passed the House of Representatives and sits in the Senate, would give teachers 10 days to withdraw their contract without penalty once a district has posted its salary scheduled, after the budget is finished.

The bill also reduces the potential penalty a teacher can face for breaking that contract during the school year, cutting it from a maximum one-year suspension of their teaching license if their local district reports it to the State Board of Education to a maximum six-month suspension. It would also give the State Board discretion over whether it levies any penalty at all for breach of contract.

“This bill recognizes teachers as professionals and gives them the respect that pretty much any other profession has, to at least know what you’re going to be paid when you put your pen on the dotted line,” Kelly said.

The second bill Kelly noted, S.125, has passed the Senate and sits in the House.

It aims to get more future teachers in the pipeline by providing scholarship stipend opportunities for college education majors.

“That would come out of lottery dollars, obviously, but we know that’s an important tool to recruit the next generation of talent into the teaching profession,” he said, explaining this would be an expansion of an existing lottery-funded scholarship offering to math and science majors.

East said the SCEA also wants to see more done to bolster student mental health services, while Kelly said strengthening school safety is the PSTA’s other top focus for next year.

This year, lawmakers put $20 million in the state budget for safety upgrades in schools. Demand outpaced available dollars when the South Carolina Department of Education opened that funding up for district applications, so Kelly said they believe additional money should be allocated for those grants in next year’s spending plan.

“We need to make sure that every student in South Carolina has access to a highly qualified teacher in every classroom, and doing so would enhance safety so students can focus on their academic growth and potential,” Kelly said.

Pay raises, contract reform, school safety among teachers’ 2024 legislative priorities In just a handful of weeks, state lawmakers will be back in Columbia to tackle issues facing South Carolinians.


Mission Statement
Established in 2018, The Safe Schools Project is a nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy group led by educators dedicated to fostering safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments in South Carolina schools.

Our Mission:
We are committed to promoting the well-being of every student by advocating for student-centered measures that prioritize safety and inclusivity. Our goals encompass three key pillars:

Enhanced Mental Health Support:
Recognizing the pivotal role school counselors and mental health professionals play in students' lives, we tirelessly advocate for increased funding for school counseling programs and mental health resources. We strive to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, fostering an environment where every student feels supported on their educational journey.

Reducing Gun Violence:
The devastating impact of gun violence on schools and communities cannot be ignored. The Safe Schools Project advocates for common-sense gun safety measures, including comprehensive background checks and restrictions on the sale of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. Our aim is to create schools where students and educators can focus on learning without fear.

Cultivating a Culture of Safety and Inclusion:
We actively work towards promoting a culture of safety and inclusion in schools. This involves supporting initiatives that create positive school climates, fostering respect, empathy, and understanding. We empower students to be catalysts for change within their communities, fostering an environment where diversity is celebrated and all students feel a sense of belonging.

Through these efforts, The Safe Schools Project is dedicated to creating safe and supportive learning environments for all students, ensuring that each student has the opportunity to reach their full potential in an environment that nurtures their academic and personal growth.

South Carolina Legislature Online - Find Your Legislators 11/19/2023

𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐢𝐥 𝐥𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐤?
Action Step: Email to Legislators with 23/24 State Teacher Compensation Ask
🚩 Increase Minimum Salary to at least $50,000
🚩 Increase State Salary Steps to 30
🚩 Increase Annual Supply Check to $500

Click to find your legislators:

Click here to view and share the LTA slide deck for advocacy:

Dear [State Legislator’s Name],
I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering commitment to addressing the critical issue of teacher retention and recruitment in South Carolina. Your dedication to improving the education system in our state does not go unnoticed, and I appreciate the work you have done thus far to make a difference in the lives of teachers and students alike.
I would like to take a moment to commend your efforts in supporting the goal set by Governor McMaster to achieve a minimum statewide teacher salary of $50,000 by 2026. South Carolina took the lead in the Southeast, and it is inspiring to see your commitment to fulfilling this goal. It is noteworthy that both Tennessee and Arkansas have already passed laws to achieve a similar minimum starting salary. Given the importance of competitive teacher compensation, I respectfully request that you continue to champion this cause and work towards increasing the minimum teacher salary to $50,000 this year.
Furthermore, I would like to bring to your attention the recommendations from the 2023 Task Force report, which highlight the need to increase the state salary steps to 30. Doing so would create a more equitable environment for all teachers in South Carolina and recognize the invaluable contributions of our experienced educators. I kindly request that you support the effort to implement this crucial change to our state’s salary structure this year.
Additionally, I would like to draw your attention to the annual supply check provided to our dedicated teachers. A 2018 report by the Institute of Education Sciences revealed that teachers spent an average of $478 annually on unreimbursed classroom supplies. Recent inflationary trends have only increased this financial burden. To ease this expense and provide much-needed support to our educators, I respectfully request that you consider increasing the annual supply check to $500, helping to cover the rising costs of classroom materials.
Once again, I want to express my gratitude for your dedication and hard work in advocating for our educators. Your efforts are making a significant difference in our state, and I look forward to your continued support in the coming legislative session.
Thank you for your service and commitment to the well-being of South Carolina’s teachers and students.
[Your Name]

South Carolina Legislature Online - Find Your Legislators This application allows you to find your Senators and Representatives for both the S.C. State Legislature and U.S. Congress who are currently serving.


World Kindness Day 2023 is a global observance dedicated to promoting and celebrating acts of kindness. This day serves as a reminder of the positive impact that kindness can have on individuals, communities, and the world at large. It encourages people to perform intentional acts of kindness and foster a culture of compassion and generosity.

What is World Kindness Day?

World Kindness Day is an annual event that encourages individuals to practice kindness in their daily lives. It highlights the importance of empathy, understanding, and cooperation to create a more harmonious and caring world.

When is World Kindness Day 2023?

World Kindness Day is observed on November 13th each year. In 2023, it falls on a Monday, providing an opportunity for people to start their week with acts of kindness and goodwill.

How to Participate in World Kindness Day 2023?

Participating in World Kindness Day is a simple yet impactful way to make a positive difference in the world. Here are ways to get involved:

Perform Acts of Kindness: Throughout the day, consciously perform acts of kindness, such as helping a neighbor, complimenting a colleague, or donating to a charity.
Spread Positivity: Share uplifting and positive messages on social media to inspire others to be kind and compassionate.
Volunteer: Offer your time to volunteer for a local charity or nonprofit organization that aligns with your values.
Donate: Make a donation to a charitable cause that you believe in, whether it’s for humanitarian aid, education, or healthcare.
Teach Kindness: Educate children and young people about the importance of kindness and empathy through storytelling or classroom activities.
Random Acts of Kindness: Surprise someone with a random act of kindness, such as buying a stranger’s coffee or leaving an encouraging note for a friend.


NOV 18: Join the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe at Keith Summey North Charleston Library for a cultural experience! Learn the history of the local tribe and enjoy traditional drumming and dancing. No sign-up is required.

The Health and Economic Toll of Gun Violence in Youth 11/10/2023

Economic Toll of Gun Violence in Youth
Study details the physical, mental, and financial costs of gunshot injuries and deaths in children

By JAKE MILLER November 6, 2023

The Health and Economic Toll of Gun Violence in Youth Study details the physical, mental, and financial toll of gunshot injuries and deaths in children


At the end of the day, you should be wearing one of these. Knowing you exercised the power of your pen is always fashionable! today. Polls close at 7 pm. (photo by Elements5 Digital)

Photos from The Safe Schools Project's post 11/06/2023

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has designated November 6–10, 2023, to be National School Psychology Week (NSPW), with the theme “Let’s Grow Together.” Schools around the country will highlight the role of school psychologists and school-based mental health services in promoting student success.

School psychologists partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed socially, behaviorally, emotionally, and academically. They are also important members of school safety and crisis teams. As stated by Dr. Andrea Clyne, President of the National Association of School Psychologists, “School psychologists bring a rich and unique set of skills to their school communities. They are champions for children, families, and schools, working hard to apply their knowledge about mental health, learning, equity, and systems to address challenges that thwart progress.”

This year’s NSPW theme, “Let’s Grow Together,” is inspired by the importance of both personal and shared strengths in our growth, as individuals and school communities, in every season of life. The theme recognizes four aspects of growth that are fundamental to effective learning environments and to school psychologists’ role in supporting student well-being and learning. First, individuals grow in their way, often in their own time, a process influenced through engagement and interaction with their surroundings. Second, engagement and interaction with others—being part of a vibrant community—supports growth. Third, diversity is a powerful ingredient in our growth. Lastly, every season, including those focused on rest and rejuvenation, contributes to a continuum of growth.


Don't miss our John Spratt Issues Conference this Saturday! Our luncheon speaker is California Congressman Ro Khanna and the Honorable Dr. Miguel Cardona is representing the Biden-Harris campaign.

Details: John Spratt Issues Conference from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 28th at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Charleston.

Registration is $50.

Photos from Charleston County School District's post 10/24/2023


Photos from Wando High School's post 10/23/2023

I’m what ways does teacher retention and recruitment make schools safer?



Take a pledge
PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center has created a special website for kids to pledge allegiance against bullying. Check out their website and share the online pledge with your children/students. Encourage them to be kids against bullying!

Share your tale
Have a bullying-related story to tell? Let others, kids included, know what happened and how it impacted you. Inspire others to speak out about such behavior.

Wear orange
Orange has been designated the prime color for this day. Show your support for the cause by putting on something orange. You can even grab a Unity Day signature T-shirt from the official PACER website.


Committee on Children 2023 Fall Public Hearings
The Safe Schools Project and SC Coalition for Safer Schools advocating for Mental Health Resources for Students (including addressing mental health-to-student ratios and conducting a mental health professional "task audit") and Addressing Educator Shortages.


Tonight at 4045 Bridge View Dr,
North Charleston, SC
29405 Charleston County Council Chambers

Want your school to be the top-listed School/college in North Charleston?

Click here to claim your Sponsored Listing.

We stand with students!

The Safe School Project is seeking support from the communities we serve as teachers. We want you to help us in asking our newly elected legislators for more funding for mental health in all our public schools. We need your help in asking the tough questions. We need the support of all stakeholders.




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