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Single Biggest Misconception about School Safety? School Security Plan Q&A, #8

This is part 8 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.

#8: In your view, what is the single biggest misconception about school safety, and how would you address it?

RJ: I think the biggest misconception is that schools are unsafe – with all the media exposure that perception keeps getting perpetuated. Research actually shows, however, that businesses and workplaces are still the number one target for many rampage shooters. School shootings are big news and the media covers them widely, but there are shootings in workplaces, malls, etc., every single day that we don't hear about, and those are still the norm versus schools.  

SM: The misconception that your district is prepared for an event when it is not would be number one in my view. As to how to address it, you must change the culture around this very real threat. Security must be at forefront of every decision an employee makes: do not hold the door open for the next person, do not give a student the door code to use the washroom during and outdoor class. It is the little things we do that can provide an opening for the intruder to enter.

GR: I believe number one is that an active shooter situation or similarly tragic event could not happen in this community. Recent events have shown that it can occur in any community and that there are usually warning signs of trouble. Everyone needs to be equipped to recognize alarming comments or threats and notify someone at the school level, regardless of their personal interpretation of the legitimacy of the comment or threat.

This is the last installment of this Q&A series.  Thank you to our participants for there insights and thought leadership.  We greatly appreciate their willingness to share with us for the greater good.  

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