According The Washington Postmore than 331,000 children in more than 350 schools have been victims of gun violence during school hours since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. And while school shootings tend to make headlines, they are not not the only ones plaguing schools today.
According to CDC, about one in five high school students report being bullied on school property. These figures do not include faculty and staff who may also have been affected by these situations. Not to mention the increase in severe weather – in the first three months of 2023, schools across the country rushed to secure buildings and protect students from heavy snowfall, rain, floods, tornadoes and wildfires.
The sad reality is that it’s not a question of whether an emergency affects a school, it’s a question of when. And when an unwanted incident occurs, time is of the essence. Here are three tips to help education leaders effectively manage security gaps and mitigate risk in their school community and ensure a quick response.
Reassess current security plans
The backbone of emergency preparedness is a comprehensive, well-articulated, and practiced plan that identifies important resources, key stakeholders, and communication methods that will be used throughout an incident. At a minimum, plans should be reassessed before the start of the school year and then again at the start of the calendar year to ensure that new protocols and technologies are considered and implemented for each scenario. For example, schools in normally wildfire-prone areas of the West may want to revise their contingency plans after flooding polarized that part of the country in 2023.