After a lull in threats of violence early in the pandemic, we are once again seeing tragic stories of deadly shootings and acts of violence as schools reopen. Schools and educators are in difficult positions and looking for ways to keep kids and staff safe. Nationwide, schools are preparing for potentially harmful threats, putting precautions in place, and evolving the school safety landscape.
As a parent of school-aged children, I received notifications regarding the recent threats that trended on Tik Tok in December. Local authorities, the FBI, district leaders and school security teams all worked together to monitor the situation. But what proactive safety and security measures can schools be taking?
Here are three ways schools can reduce potential safety risks before and during an emergency.
Take a holistic approach to school safety
It is critical that school leaders consider school safety across all phases of an incident: how do we prepare better in advance of an emergency? How do we surface tips and critical information from our communities that provide early indications of issues? What happens after the incident occurs – how do we restore normalcy? This type of holistic approach considers each stage of an emergency: preparedness, response, and recovery.
David Riedman, lead researcher for the K-12 School Shooting Database, shared a few strategies with the Washington Post. One beneficial approach is to host crisis response trainings that provide the opportunity for students to speak up if someone they know may be in crisis. To this end, pre-emptive resources such as anonymous tip solutions have been shown to be effective as most attackers share their plans with at least one other person.
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