School safety for students and staff has always been a priority, but in the wake of unthinkable tragedies such as the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting, it’s critical for us to continually ask: Are we prepared to handle all possible emergency situations?
In a recent webinar, School Security and Crisis Communication 101, Blackbaud K–12 called upon a panel of school security experts for insight and advice into the safety measures that school communities should implement.
As part of the discussion, Stacey Sisk, the VP of CrisisGo, and Dr. Joey Erardi, who led the recovery process for the community devastated by the Sandy Hook tragedy, broke emergency preparedness into three categories: awareness, incident management, and recovery. This segmentation makes it easier for schools to prioritize and follow safety precautions.
Dr. Erardi was also quick to point out that school leaders should continuously analyze and improve upon their plan. “A school safety plan is never complete,” he said. “Always make it a work in progress.”
Joey Nutinsky, one of the Founders at Ruvna, emphasized the importance of running drills during busy transition times, such as during lunch or class changes. “Running drills during those transition times is extremely important,” he said. “If you find that running a drill during those transition times takes way too long, that’s actually an indication that you should be running more drills during the transition times because that muscle memory isn’t there yet.”
BrightArrow’s founder Raymond Bily recommended keeping the school’s response plan simple. “You’re going to have a very stressed out staff and faculty in the event of an emergency, and the more complicated the process, the more likely that there may be a human error.”
Mark Ruiters, the CEO and Founder at SchoolPass, spoke about the importance of centralizing arrival and dismissal instructions.
“Many of you have 10-20% daily changes that happen, such as doctor’s visits, early pick up, playdates, bus moves. That’s 20,000 changes every year that can introduce risk,” he explained. A more efficient strategy is to give parents the tools to control those schedule adjustments and relieve the burden of change communication from your front office.
Please watch the recorded webinar here for all the school safety advice from our panel of experts. The companies represented in the webinar are all part of Blackbaud K–12’s partner network, and each offers tools to help make your school a safer place.