FESTUS, Mo. – Jefferson County school superintendent, police officer, and health officials discuss school safety as the upcoming school year start in August.

A safety summit on Monday discussed mental health, school safety, and Jefferson County’s virtual database ASPEN or Access to Services Providing Essential Needs inside the Festus High School Performing Arts Center.

“It’s a virtual platform that houses a robust resource database including a data dashboard,” said Jaclyn Brown, ASPEN Coordinator Jefferson County Health Department. “As well as, a really unique mental health platform that is comprised of some unique school components.”

Jefferson County’s database ASPEN is developing components for first responders, foster children, superintendents, families, and healthcare workers.

“The commitment from the superintendents as well as the service providers and health department, COMTREA, Chestnut and Provident Health was to try to come up with a better way for families before they got to a state of crisis,” said Clint Johnston, Superintendent schools Jefferson R7 School District.

Sgt. Brian Rossomanno of the Jefferson County sheriff’s office said they “hired a mental health coordinator.”

“A position that didn’t exist up until about a year ago. I think it’s a good thing that everybody’s recognizing this is a multifaceted problem and we need a multifaceted solution,” said Rossomanno. “So, law enforcement needs to do its part, the schools need to do their part, the mental health needs to do their part, and the parents need to do their part. So, seeing all those things come together in a conference like this is really something.”

The schools in the Jefferson R7 School District start on August 16-19.