Security in schools can mean a lot of different things to school administrators. Plans in place for medical accidents, bullying incidents and physical building safety are just a few things that administration must prepare for in their schools.
A school security plan must include planning for, and response options to, a threat on campus. It is incredibly important to encourage an individualized response plan. Empower teachers and staff members with the ability to make a decision and act, based on the information that is presented to them. This may mean that a teacher on one side of campus, may respond differently than a teacher on another side of campus. Action will lead to saving lives- especially when a teacher is armed with confidence to make a decision that is best for their students.
Security in School Starts with Having a Plan in Place
School administration need to take the lead in devising a plan that keep:
- staff up-to-date with their training,
- students prepared through drill exercises, and
- parents informed through open communication portals.
We always encourage training.
- If you have not yet received this type of education for your staff, please do! And if you need assistance in choosing the right active shooter training program, please read here.
- If you have already provided training to your staff, that is great!
Is your school prepared?
See if you can answer “yes” to the following questions. If you answered “no” to any of them, seek assistance in making them a YES!
15 Questions for School Administration to Answer “Yes” to After Receiving Active Shooter Training
- Have your staff been trained on what their options are if they are faced with a threat at school?
- Have you and your staff been trained on what the difference is between a lockdown and hold; and what the expectations are of staff members?
- Did your school create written lockdown and hold procedures that coincide with your active shooter training?
- Have you added aforementioned procedures to your parent handbook and volunteer handbook so that visitors and parents are aware of what to expect during a lockdown? Look at the example provided by St. Paul Lutheran School in Boca Raton, Florida in the photo below. Such communications can include a description of what the drill is, why it is completed, and stressing the need for age-appropriate conversations with their child regarding the purpose of the drills.
- Do you meet with your staff before the school year starts to review the procedures? Have you encouraged them to post the response options in their classroom?
- Does your school have a drill schedule for the year? Begin with very basic, announced drills. The drills should only change in situation or become unannounced once staff and students have become comfortable with the basic drill.
- Do you schedule “mini-drills” in the classroom before a school-wide drill so that teachers may discuss what a threat is and the purpose of the drill in an age-appropriate manner?
- Have you developed a safety team comprised of non-instructional staff that perform certain roles during a hold drill?
- Are you or your lead safety team member at your school completing and filing drill logs after each drill?
- Do you or your lead safety team member complete and file after-action reports for incidents that occur on campus?
- Are you or your lead safety team member facilitating a debrief with all staff following a drill and incident in the form of face-to-face meeting or email communication?
- Are you incorporating the active shooter training into new-hire orientation?
- Have you completed a campus threat site survey that highlights areas of security vulnerabilities? Are you taking steps to prioritize the vulnerabilities and then remedying them?
- Do you have a system in place to ensure these points are retained each year?
- Do you have an SRO or contracted off-duty police officer on site daily? Or at minimum, a security team or parent volunteer program?
To maintain security in schools, we need to continuously evolve our training.
Threat response training in schools continues to evolve, much like educational measures and programs. Print this article and make it a point to get these items answered and accounted for.
Good luck with the new school year!
If you are interested in learning more about the active shooter training that we offer to maintain security in schools, please make an appointment with us today!
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