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Proactive about School Security? School Security Plan Q&A, #5

This is part 5 of a Q&A of school administrators regarding their thoughts on school security plans.  For more information on the three participants, Rebecca Jurs, Greg Rabenhorst, and Scott Mackall, see part 1 of this series here.

Q5: What can school administrators and leaders do to be proactive about school security?

RJ: What gets practiced gets remembered, whether you're talking about academics or something like remembering what to do in a safety situation. But also, it's crucial for administrators to stay informed about best practices such as the ALICE method or the other training methods like videos or resources from the LAPD or other law enforcement.

I really believe that staying on top of best practices and also practices like scenario-based training are really good because they make you think outside the box. And it doesn't only have to be something like a mass shooting. It could be something like a chemical spill near your building or a gas leak. It is important to know what options we may have in every situation.  

SM: Instill the crisis plan in the minds of the staff instead of in a binder hanging in the classroom. Having worked in the educational field of facility operations for more than 17 years, I understand the many distractions provided on a normal day; however, security must be a culture at any school building, and any culture change must start at the top level.  Administrators and community leaders must keep security in the forefront of everyday activities. No other event can have such a profound effect on students and staff as the several school shootings we have seen in the past years.

GR: Administration must have open communication and regular training with staff, students and partnering agencies to have a clear idea of what situations are potential threats on safety and how the team will come together, deal with a crisis, and return to a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible.

In part 6, the panel answers the question "Do you feel there should be legislation enacted to fund ongoing security needs in schools?"

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