Internal Perspectives of the Maryland Center for School Safety
The MCSS team introduces you to summer 2022 intern, Devin Peart, who was involved in a number of high-level projects during his 10-week internship at MCSS. Mr. Peart is a Senior at Mount St. Mary’s University majoring in Political Science. He is originally from Littlestown, Pennsylvania. Before joining the MCSS team, he previously interned for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Mr. Peart learned of the internship opportunity through the Maryland Public Service Scholars Program. While at MCSS, Mr. Peart researched the latest school safety news, legislation, and court rulings related to school safety. He also compiled data on school safety issues and communications across the US. He met with each of the MCSS team members, learning their role in the agency, and how each position fits into the mission of MCSS. He was surprised the agency did more than working with just security and law enforcement professionals.
One of Mr. Peart’s projects was the completion of reports MCSS staff will use in the future to develop new school safety initiatives. He also worked with staff to make edits on existing regulations. After several rounds of revisions, Mr. Peart presented the final draft of both regulations to the School Safety Subcabinet requesting permission to publish.
Mr. Peart said working with MCSS’s behavioral health stakeholders taught him how mental health plays a role in school safety. Mr. Peart’s Public Service Scholars Program project, completed with other student interns, focused on policies to support trauma-informed care.
“If a student is going through something, their learning is going to be affected. You have to maximize their learning, even under dire situations. When certain things happen, having the infrastructure in place is vital to survival of learning, to the survival of the schools.”
Mr. Peart was also integral in the planning and execution of last summer’s MCSS School Safety Conference. During the two-day conference, he served as exhibitor coordinator/liaison where he met with each government agency or organization, aided them with any difficulties they encountered, and helped them to engage with conference attendees. He says the multi-disciplined partners who participated show the complexity of safety preventative measures.
In addition to these duties as MCSS Intern, Mr. Peart engaged in discussions with local stakeholders and assisted with grants, data collection, and communications/multimedia projects. He served as a special assistant to Executive Director, Kate Bryan, and learned how a multifaceted organization works together with local school administrations, county superintendents, police, local agencies, and emergency management professionals to keep Maryland students safe.
“I had a good leader, who gave me the reins to work. I benefited from that. I was trusted to do the job,” he said.
Mr. Peart said each of us should explore our “Why Statements.” Why are we involved in the work we do everyday. He explained many members of his family were educators or involved in educational systems, and he feels compelled to improve the relationship between safety, security, and students in his future.
“When it comes to school safety, we have to get it right the first time, there is no second chance. This is what is great about MCSS; the urgency and the attention to detail. The emphasis is on getting it right, having those conversations, and seeing that in action.”
If you are interested in having a similar experience as an intern at MCSS apply here.