School Safety and Security Checklist
School is back in session! There is this combination of excitement and anxiety associated with the first day of school - not just for the kids either. New kids, new teachers, new rooms, new staff, and a great deal of work. There is so much to prepare for and tasks to get done for all involved - administrators, teachers, parents and students. Unfortunately, in the busyness, many times safety and security fall down the list of the other priorities. But I found this simple checklist from Jason Russell of Secure Education Consultants (secureed.com) that is a great reminder of the things we - in each of our roles - need to review for the start of the year. I hope this list will prompt you to bring safety and security back to the top of your list for this new school year.
- Ensure emergency protocols are in place and posted in each classroom.
- Go over basic emergency protocols with teachers and staff (i.e.: Evacuation, Shelter in Place, Lockout and Lockdown.) Answer questions when possible.
- Review key plan elements such as alert capability, relocation sites, and transportation elements to ensure they are in place.
- Develop a drill-schedule for early and mid-year that practices the main protocols.
- If buses are used, schedule times for evacuation practice. Ensure evacuation is practiced from the buses at least 2 times per year.
- Make contact with local emergency services to request they attend a drill that would elicit their response. (Fire for Evacuation and Police for Lockdown.)
- Review basic emergency procedures to include Evacuation, Shelter in Place, Lockout and Lockdown. Ensure you are aware of the role you must play in each situation. Ask for clarification when plans are ambiguous.
- Check emergency supplies and ensure they are available and operating properly.
- Ensure you have access to emergency alert systems and know when to use them.
- Plan a time, as early in the year as possible, to review basic emergency responses with children. Be sure to do this in an age appropriate manner.
- When age appropriate, ensure children know parents contact information to include phone numbers, home address etc.
- Consider a backpack emergency card with relevant phone numbers, medical allergies, and other information that could be used to help in an emergency.
- Ask the school about their plan to deal with emergencies and make sure they have a reunification plan in place.
- Update all emergency contacts. Consider authorizing a non-parent to pick up your child(ren) in case of emergency, and you are unable to be there.
- Have an age appropriate conversation with the child about maintaining safety and about age appropriate situational awareness.