A few months ago, I was asked by a school staff member about the best way to deal with the fact that her school district is not conducting intruder drills. She reported that many in her district still don’t believe a school attack or intrusion could happen there, and that drills are a waste of valuable instructional time.
My first thought was that it is vital for administration to set a tone of realism and expectation about the possibility that anything can happen there. Administrators would be wise to state unequivocally that evacuation, lockdown and other types of intruder drills are a critical component of school safety preparedness.
Gavin de Becker has said that, “violence finds its way into every institution of our culture, and people not expecting it are also not prepared for it.” I recently provided staff training at a small rural school district and told the staff of my visits to schools in West Paducah, KY and Jonesboro, AR, the sites of two well-known school shooting attacks. The similarities between those districts and the one where I was presenting were striking. Fortunately, the administration in this district does not need convincing. The superintendent is on board with school safety and has made many efforts to create a safe district.
What does your district administration believe? Are you worried that your school is unprepared and vulnerable? If you would like to discuss ideas for motivating your district staff to address this critical issue, simply click here.