Many conversations swirl around regarding school safety and solutions to help improve overall security. Sometimes, the conversation starts with school policy makers, sometimes it starts with legislators and sometimes it starts with the community. This week, we saw four news stories that exemplified the growing cultural unification around the need for solutions to a critical problem. The common theme throughout? Being Proactive!
In Sequim, Wash., parents of children at area schools have banded together to take a proactive approach to improving school security and emergency preparedness. The parents, along with the owner of a local security services provider, initiated a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of raising $34K to put toward these solutions. This story is a great example of the community putting some additional skin in the game to be solutions-oriented, rather than reactive.
In Winters, Calif., community members, school officials and local law enforcement/emergency responders initiated a public forum to discuss strategies and solutions for improving school safety and security. One of the items mentioned is the need to integrate school safety with community emergency response plans. Participants in the forum also discussed the need for increased training for both emergency response professionals and teachers.
One of the things that we advocate for at BluePoint is the need to simply be prepared and have a plan for crisis situations in school settings. Often times, preparation alone can be the difference between a successful response and one that ends in chaos or possibly even tragedy. With this in mind, Colorado legislators approved a one-time, $35 million budget addition for training school resource officers and improving other areas of security, like hardening and monitoring technology. We really love to see the commitment from the top to providing the financial resources to help schools improve preparedness.
Facing pressure to initiate policy and procedural changes to school safety and security, schools in many states across the US are dipping into education budgets to fund safety improvements. This exemplifies the tricky nature of trying to be fast-acting and responsive in situations that call for funding with little opportunity to gather it from other sources. It is not an ideal solution to the ‘funding’ problem, but, at the very least, it is an attempt to be intentional about initiating the improvements that need to be made.
Each one of these stories are indicative of the myriad ways that school safety improvement is being addressed across the country. There isn’t a single approach or method that guarantees 100 percent success, but being proactive and taking actionable steps toward preparedness – or even initiating the conversation – are encouraging signs after many years of tragedy and sluggish changes.