School safety is on everyone’s mind these days. Students and parents are frightened and they’re asking what we are doing to keep them safe at school.
How will you answer their questions?
This summer would be a good time to reflect on how you are doing in the critical areas of school safety. Honest, reflective responses on this assessment will help you provide answers to your students, staff, parents, and local school board. It will also allow you to assess your potential liability and fill any gaps to minimize it.
The SafeAware© School Safety Survey I just posted on my website takes only a few minutes to complete and can save you valuable time and money. Before you take it, there are a few things you should know about the most recent advances in school safety:
• A number of states are now requiring that school districts not only have a crisis response plan in place, but that plans be submitted to the state department of education for review and “grading.” This is a movement that is likely to catch on and spread across the country.
• As you may have heard me say, the FBI and Secret Service have used the practice of threat assessment for nearly 30 years to assessment potential threats. The practice has been adapted for use in schools and is now required in K-12 schools in Virginia. It is also required in public higher education institutions in Connecticut, Illinois and Virginia.
• The Oregon Task Force on School Safety has developed a statewide threat assessment system to train all schools’ threat assessment teams to use consistent assessment protocols.
• Florida’s governor Rick Scott has directed all schools in Florida to establish threat assessment teams by September 2018.
• The president of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP) recently spoke to congress about the effectiveness of threat assessment as a preventive tool, and the need to require its use in schools. At the end of April, a Bill was introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee to increase funding to the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC). The Bill includes the following statement: “SENSE OF CONGRESS—It is the sense of Congress that a fact-based threat assessment approach, involving school officials, local law enforcement, and members of the community, is one of the most effective ways to prevent targeted violence in schools, and is a fitting memorial to those who lost their lives in the February 14, 2018, attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those who heroically acted to preserve the lives of their friends, students, and colleagues.”
• A number of states, including Wisconsin and Florida, have created school safety centers, with millions of dollars being awarded to school districts with a plan for updating and increasing safety. My services are considered an allowable expense for these grants.
I have training and safety/crisis plan development scheduled for school districts in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania this summer and fall. I want to remind you that as a current reader, you are eligible for special pricing on all services and training if booked before June 30 and completed by October 31. Please contact me for details and to discuss your needs.
Now, let’s get to that survey. You can get it here.
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