Feeling safe is a fundamentally important need, but even the top schools across the nation fall short in creating safe environments for their students, parents, teachers, and administration.
Between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, there were a total of 45 school related deaths in elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Moreover, approximately 9% of teachers report that they have been threatened with injury by a student from their school while 5% of school teachers reported that they have actually been physically attacked by a student from their school.
We sat down with Joe Humphries, a project manager with Compliance One, to discuss how schools can implement security plans to create a safe learning environment for their students, staff, parents, and community.
C1: According to the FBI, education environments were the second-largest location grouping for active shooters, totaling 39 incidents at K-12 and institutes of higher education from 2000 to 2013. Why should school systems ask themselves if their school system is prepared for incidents such as these?
JH: The safety of your students and staff is paramount, and you must assess your vulnerabilities and have a detailed emergency operations/response plan in place. This plan needs to be site-specific to your school and its unique characteristics and operations. These plans should never be a template that is cut and pasted from a website or borrowed from another district, as all school systems are dynamic in their own ways and means. You owe this to your students, staff, parents, and community.
C1: How important is it for school systems to implement and practice a school security plan?
JH: A well-thought-out and detailed plan must have buy-in from the school district’s leadership and staff. It is imperative that you bring these individuals to the table when formulizing the plan and get their input and buy-in to your objectives and goals. Once you have the buy-in from your staff, you must provide training on the plan and make sure that each and everyone at the table understands their duties and responsibilities to carry out the plan in the case of a crisis.
It is vital that you implement continuous training on your plan to assure that your personnel will respond to an unforeseen crisis as if it was second nature. We all know that a human responds to a critical incident under stress in the matter to which they were trained.
C1: How can Compliance One help school administrators create a safe and secure environment for their students, staff, and faculty?
JH: Compliance One has a team of multi-disciplined experts with over 75 years of experience in law enforcement. Our staff includes current and retired public safety officers who have practical experience in: emergency planning and preparedness; Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) practices; security and building assessments; security technology; access control; training development; incident command and communications; community policing; weapons of mass destruction and hazardous materials training; and an active shooter training program that is second to none.
Source: Robers, S., Zhang, A., Morgan, R., & Musu-Gillette, L. (2015, July 9). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2015, from National Center for Education Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2015/2015072.pdf
Joe holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminology with a minor in sociology from Western Michigan University, and comes to Compliance One with 25 years of experience as a police officer, firefighter, medical first responder, and K-9 handler/trainer. He is also a training instructor and faculty member at multiple colleges in Michigan, including Kellogg Community College and Washtenaw Community College.