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Ensuring a safe and secure environment for students

Ensuring a safe and secure environment for students, school staff, and visitors is a primary responsibility of every school district. While crises in school settings are rare, as recent events made us all too aware, neighborhood schools, communities, and cities are not immune to tragedy and disaster.

To help keep our students and schools safe, school leaders need to focus and ready their emergency response and recovery planning--including efforts to build a positive school climate that includes relationships of trust, respect, and open communication among students and staff-- before an incident or crisis situation occurs.

So that students and staff are able to respond appropriately, emergency plans and procedures should be developed and maintained in coordination with appropriate local, state, and federal agencies, including local public health, police, fire departments, transit authorities, or other agencies and first responders. And the plans and procedures should address all types of crises such as environmental, health, and safety risks, and potential security breaches.

Following are resources to help school and community leaders focus and ready their safety and crisis management plans:

ASBJ Article: “Lessons in crisis management from Moore, Oklahoma,” is a story of devastation and recovery in tornado-stricken communities in Oklahoma.

ASBJ Article: “Restoring the future,” chronicles recovery and rebuilding efforts in Joplin, Mo. after a natural disaster.

ASBJ Article: “Keeping up to keep students safe,” examines the latest trends in school safety, touching on essential training, technology choices, the role of School Resource Officers, and evaluating risks.

Video: “Planning for and Managing the School Crisis You Hope Never Comes,” offers advice for leaders to respond to school safety issues. Sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s Office of General Counsel and Council of School Attorneys (COSA):

Other helpful resources:

American Red Cross

American Academy of Pediatrics

FEMA, Helping Children Cope with Disaster

PSB, Talking with Kids about news

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