According to The Washington Post, more than 331,000 children at more than 350 schools have experienced gun violence during school hours since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. And while school shootings tend to capture news headlines, they are not the only ill plaguing schools today.
According to the CDC, about one in five high school students report being bullied on school property. These numbers do not include the faculty and staff that may have also been affected by these situations. Not to mention the increase in severe weather events – in the first three months of 2023, schools across the nation have scrambled to secure buildings and protect students because of heavy snow, rain, flooding, tornadoes and wildfires.
The unfortunate reality is that it’s not a matter of if an emergency impacts a school–it’s a matter of when. And when an adverse incident occurs, time is of the essence. Here are three tips to help educational leaders effectively manage safety gaps and mitigate risks in their school community and ensure a swift response.
Revaluate current safety plans
The backbone of emergency preparedness is a comprehensive, well-articulated and practiced plan that identifies important resources, key stakeholders, and communication methods that will be utilized throughout an incident. At a minimum, plans should be reevaluated before the beginning of the school year and then again at the beginning of the calendar year to ensure that new protocols and technologies are being considered and implemented for every scenario. For example, schools in the normally wildfire-prone areas out West may want to revisit their emergency plans after the flooding that has polarized that part of the country in 2023.