Students and teachers are back to in-person learning in most schools across the nation. Unfortunately, instances of school shootings, gun confiscations, stabbings, and other violence have also returned to our nation’s schools. In the past week alone, there have been at least four school shootings around the U.S., the most recent on Wednesday at a high school in Arlington, Texas, with four people injured.
After nearly two years of COVID planning, school principals, superintendents, and other educators should be reviewing traditional school emergency preparedness plans for active shooters and other school violence. While COVID-19 plans have understandably dominated the focus, school leaders must shift their focus to updating and reviewing their traditional security and emergency preparedness crisis plans.
We are also learning that some schools have not reconstituted their school crisis/emergency teams at the building and district levels. Some school safety teams have also not yet met, although some schools have been in session for nearly two months.
An initial school crisis/safety team meeting agenda might reasonably include items such as:
- Review of local/national school security incidents
- Status of physical security upgrades (cameras, access control, communications, and others) and plans moving forward for upgrading and/or maintaining physical security
- Status of the school’s emergency plans with updates, reviews of same with teachers and support staff, any training done or needed to be done
- Status of threat assessment protocols
- Review of emergency drills
- Other district/site-specific issues/concerns of team members
Having a meeting with notes showing items were discussed provides the school with a layer of evidence of proactive efforts and attention to these traditional areas of school safety.
We encourage schools to also resume drills, even if modified to adapt to ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols. We also encourage schools to hold tabletop exercises to test and exercise their written emergency guidelines to assess how what is in writing would work or not work in a real emergency.
Our team has developed online tabletop exercise and roundtable services that have been fine-tuned during COVID-19 online consultation supports with school leaders.
For more information our training, tabletop, and consultation services, visit our web site here.
For more information on our services, email Ken Trump or call him directly at 216-251-3067.
Ken Trump is the President of National School Safety and Security Services
National School Safety and Security Services
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