October 31 was an awful day for school safety. Not one, but two significant events occurred today that underscored the need for a comprehensive, all-hazards approach to school safety. Schools on both coasts unexpectedly found themselves implementing multiple emergency procedures such as lockdown, evacuation, student accountability, and parent reunification in rapid succession.
In New York, a terrorist attack involved a bus crash as well as multiple fatalities in the full view of horrified students. Not one, but two schools found themselves in both lockdown and sheltering modes. On the west coast, a Riverside, California first grade teacher was held hostage by an enraged parent until SWAT intervened. The school was evacuated and the children removed off site to be reunified with their parents.
The take-away? There is no substitute for appropriate planning, preparation and training – and it needs to happen now. These two schools had no way of knowing today would be the day their plans and preparation would be tested. How would your school have fared if you were in their shoes today?
For more information and free resources to assist you in planning, preparation, and training, head to www.eSchoolSafety.org.