Public safety in and around schools in Maastricht and the Heuvelland (Limburg Hill Country) needed to be improved, in the opinion of the LVO Heuvelland and LVO Maastricht secondary school foundations, Leeuwenborgh Regional Training Centre, MosaLira foundation for learning, education and upbringing, GGD Zuid-Limburg regional health service, Public Prosecution Service, HALT-Team Limburg, the Maastricht-Heuvelland police force, and the municipalities of Eijsden-Margraten, Gulpen-Wittem, Maastricht, Meerssen, Vaals, and Valkenburg aan de Geul. This was also the reason why these parties signed the Veiligheid op school krijgt voorrang (priority for safety at school) covenant on 13 April 2012.
This was followed by the initiation of the Veiligheid in en om school (safety in and around school) project in 2014. The first schools were awarded the associated certificate in 2015. Thirteen of Maastricht’s fifteen secondary and special secondary schools had received certification by the beginning of 2017. Schools seeking certification cooperated with the HALT prevention and control of juvenile crime organization in carrying out an analysis of the safety situation at their school. This was followed by a plan of approach specifying the steps to be taken to achieve the base safety level. The plans and protocols were updated to get the internal organization in order and the necessary external cooperation was organized. An audit was conducted to survey the experiences of the board, teaching and other staff, pupils and students, and external parties with health and safety at their location. A review was also conducted to determine the education location’s compliance with the base safety level requirements. A certification commission, in conclusion, assessed the results from the audit.
A covenant group monitors the agreements reached in the covenant. All partners are represented in this group. The group, as the occasion arises, sets up work groups to address specific issues. Issues that were discussed or addressed in the past years were:
- merger of the ‘healthy school’ and ‘safe school’;
- meeting to inform the partner organizations about issues including the social media, drug runners and pimp boyfriends;
- Health Monitor 2013 and 2015;
- presentation on Youth Community Mediation and No Credit Game Over;
- tackling jihadism;
- regional Safe at Home vision;
- role of the neighbourhood police officer for secondary and special secondary schools and senior secondary vocational education centres;
- accession of United World College to the covenant group.