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Mark Williams, physical safety expert and Chair for the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools discusses the newly released PASS Safety and Security Guidelines with Safe and Sound Schools.

The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) just released the 5th edition of its Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools. Who should read them and why?  

The Guidelines were originally introduced in response to schools in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting.  Schools were struggling to understand what they needed to do.  Specifically, their questions fit into a handful of categories:

  • How do we assess our current state of safety and security?
  • What should we do? What are other schools doing? Vetted best practices.
  • Where should we start?

While the original Guidelines were oriented around providing a roadmap for schools to follow to answer those questions, they have evolved to be a resource that is useful for other stakeholders in the safe schools environments, like architects who design schools, general contractors who build schools, emergency responders, and parents.  All these folks are involved in taking an all hazards approach to enhancing the safety of our schools.

Who endorses the 2020 guidelines?

We have many organizations that support, reference and endorse the PASS Guidelines and Checklist, including Safe and Sound Schools.  The PASS Guidelines are listed as the only non-governmental document on physical security within the Department of Homeland Security SchoolSafety.gov website.  PASS is also referenced in the National Fire Prevention Association’s NFPA 3000 ASHER standard as well as the Federal Report on School Safety and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission Report.  The State of Ohio in their “School Safety Report and Recommendations” recommended that all public K-12 schools in the state of Ohio should meet with PASS Tier 1 requirements.  Additionally, COPS (The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services) which is a component with the United States Department of Justice, published a list of the 10 Essential Actions to Improve School Safety.  PASS was included in that Top 10 list.

What’s new in this year’s guidance?

There is a lot of new material in the 5th Edition. We are very excited to finally release it. Some highlights include:

  • An expanded conversation on non-code compliant barricade devices
  • New technology around Zone Emergency Response Systems which dramatically reduce the time it takes to get emergency responders to the exact location on school campus or building
  • Guidance on Lockdown Drills – what should they be and what they shouldn’t be
  • Enhanced Visitor Management practices
  • Grounds assessment and use policies
  • Recommendations on the installation of audio/video call boxes in various layers of school security
  • Architectural elements like delineating hard corners in classrooms in order to have room occupants shelter in safe places during a lockdown
  • An enhanced Checklist Tool which enables schools to document both current state and serves as a planning document going forward.
  • A new section on Emerging Technologies. These are technologies we see evolving and being tested in the k12 environment.

We are really pleased with it and hope to see even more schools make use of the updated guide.

What is the biggest takeaway for schools? 

We believe the biggest takeaway for schools is that the Guidelines and Checklist tools are evolving in a very dynamic environment to reflect the current vetted best practices from around the country.  We have a cross functional Advisory Committee of experts that are out in our school environments every day and are dedicated to making sure our schools are as safe as possible.

How can people access the new PASS guidelines? And how do you see schools using this free resource from the experts at PASS?

The Guidelines and Checklist tools are available as a no cost download at https://passk12.org/guidelines-resources/.

Schools are finding this document easy to understand and a helpful tool in assessing their current environment and a planning tool for their future needs.  It also provides a platform and resource to assist schools to pursue grants that are available for school safety and security equipment and training as well as a document to help them establish effective and appropriate solutions for enhancing the safety and security of their environments.

We set out to provide free, clear, and unbiased guidance for school leaders and decision makers when we started the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools.  We are thrilled to see more and more schools taking advantage of the resource and grateful for partners like Safe and Sound Schools spreading the word.


Guest Author:

Mark Williams served for over 30 years in the Safety and Security Industry in a number of leadership roles. He also has 15 years of experience teaching life safety codes and sits on the NFPA 3000 ASHER (Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response) technical committee. Mark has been involved with Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) since 2014 and currently serves as its Board Chairman.

With the warm days of summer behind us (well, most of us!), we’re rounding up this quarter’s travels, talks, and noteworthy news.

In short, we were busy, covering nearly 50 cities, spanning 25 states, driving traffic to the web site, and reaching over 51,500 people from July through September. Check out the highlights!

Travel & Talks:

  • In July, FEMA shared a PrepTalk featuring Co-founder Michele Gay. In her presentation, “Rethinking School Safety,” Michele relayed her personal experience, highlighting lessons learned from the tragedy at Sandy Hook. She also presented Safe and Sound Schools’ Framework for Comprehensive School Safety Planning and Development.
  • Later in July, Co-founder Alissa Parker presented with Safe and Sound speaker and Virginia Tech survivor Lisa Hamp, joining Mandi and Harris Jaffe from Parkland at the “Community Preparedness in an Era of School Shootings” symposium in Indiana.
  • In August, Michele Gay joined national school safety leaders to participate in school safety workgroups, facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security in DC.
  • In September, Alissa Parker attended two Time Out for Women events, where she shared her story of resilience and recovery.
  • Early in September, Michele Gay was invited to keynote for the National Fire Prevention Association’s  Massachusetts School Active Shooter Symposium with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. During her presentation, Michele shared school safety concerns and challenges, stressing the need for community-wide collaboration.
  • Also in September, Alissa Parker traveled to Columbus, Ohio to deliver a keynote presentation for The Ohio School Board Association. During the school security and safety summit, Alissa shared the lessons she learned in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy and emphasized the need to address the “It can’t happen here mentality.”

Fundraising & Grants:

  • St. George Men’s Group hosted a charity golf tournament to benefit Safe and Sound Schools, raising $3,100.
  • H&H Medical hosted a summer fundraiser to benefit Safe and Sound Schools in preparation for back to school, raising $1,550.
  • Report it® awarded Safe and Sound Schools a $25,000 grant to support the development of our free programs and resources.
  • Dandelion Bakery Bistro in Glenelg, MD, hosted Safe and Sound Schools and friends for a night of food, live music, and fundraising, raising over $1,110 to support our mission of safe schools.

Thank you to all the donors whose generous donations make our work and mission possible!

Spreading Our Mission:

  • Safe and Sound Schools partnered with Raptor Technologies to conduct a parent and student survey. The survey found that a majority of students and parents have anxiety over school shootings, with 75% of parents citing that they are willing pay out of their own pockets to do something about it. In fact, when asked about prioritizing funding, both parent and student survey respondents ranked improved school security as the top priority for additional funding over academics, arts and athletics. Learn more about the findings here.
  • Safe and Sound Schools also furthered the school safety discussion with several key in media engagements. Here are are just a few: Popular Mechanics Magazine, Huffington Post, Campus Safety, Sanctuary Magazine, Security Info Watch, and WebMD.

To keep up with all things Safe and Sound, connect with us on social media and subscribe to our blog.

Want the detailed view of our community visits? Look below!

For more information regarding our speakers and presentations/workshops/trainings, click here or to book a speaker or training, contact Gina at gina@kirklandproductions.com.


July

  • Frank DeAngelis – Columbine Safety Conference in Colorado, July 7-9
  • Michele Gay – Reunification presentation and workshop for the School Safety Conference of the Old Bridge Township Public Schools in Matawan, NJ, July 11
  • Alissa Parker – Delivered keynote presentation for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, July 11
  • John Baker – Situation Awareness presentation for Allegion in Renton, WA, July 11
  • Frank DeAngelis – Columbine Safety Conference in Colorado, July 12-14
  • Frank DeAngelis – Lead speaker for the School Safety Symposium in Delaware, July 16
  • John McDonald – Presented “The world isn’t a scary place…but it is uncertain” for the New York Association for Pupil transportation in Albany, NY, July 18
  • Michele Gay – Represented Safe and Sound Schools at the Campus Safety Conference in Herndon, VA, July 19
  • Frank DeAngelis – Delivered keynote presentation for NHA in Grand Rapids, MI, July 19
  • Jin Kim – National School Safety Conference in Orlando, FL, July 23-24
  • Frank DeAngelis – Delivered keynote presentation at the 2018 University of Wisconsin Collegiate Conference in Madison, WI, July 24-25
  • Alissa Parker & Lisa Hamp – Delivered keynote presentations on “Lessons Learned: Community Preparedness in an Era of School Shootings” for inHealth, Valparaiso, IN, July 26
  • John McDonald – Delivered custom presentation for Synovia Solutions in Indianapolis, IN, July 26
  • Michele & Dan Jewiss – Presentation for the Annual SRO Conference in West Virginia
  • Jin Kim – National School Safety Conference in Orlando, FL, July 26-29
  • Frank DeAngelis – Presented for Logan County High School, Bowling Green, KY, July

August

  • Lisa Hamp  – Shared “Lessons from a Virginia Tech Survivor” for the Johnston Community College Annual Faculty & Staff Conference in Smithfield, NC, August 1
  • Michele Gay – Participated in the Department of Homeland Security Roundtable in DC, August 1-2
  • Alissa Parker – Shared “A Parent’s Perspective” and “Beyond Tragedy” for the Belton ISD Leadership Retreat in Belton, TX, July 3
  • Michele Gay – Delivered presentation on community engagement for ROE Schoolworks in Danville, IL, August 3
  • Michele Gay & Melissa Reeves – Provided reunification trainings for the Wisconsin Police Leadership Foundation’s Summer Conference in Green Bay, WI,  August 6
  • Michele Gay – Delivered keynote on reunification for the NaviGate Prepare Summer Safety Academy in Canton, OH, August 9
  • Michele Gay – Presented a reunification and community engagement keynote for the Axis Schools Safety Symposium in Lowell, MI, August 14
  • Michele Gay – Delivered a keynote presentation for the Rockhill Schools’ Family Reunification Drill in Rock Hill, SC, August 16
  • Michele Gay, CJ Huff & John McDonald – Presentations for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District in Sheffield, MA, August 27-28

September

  • Michele Gay – Police Foundation Webinar, September 6
  • Michele Gay – Shared “A Parent’s Perspective” for the National Fire Protection Agency’s Active Shooter Summit in Quincy, MA, September 6
  • Frank DeAngelis – Presentation for the Uplift International Gala in Denver, CO, September 8
  • Michele Gay – NASRO Summit in Baltimore, MD, September 10-11
  • Alissa Parker – Delivered presentation at a Time Out for Women event in Sacramento, California, September 9-10
  • Melissa Reeves – Delivered keynote on threat assessment for the Indiana Department of Education in Indianapolis, IN, September 11
  • Alissa Parker – Presented at the School Security and Safety Solutions Summit for the Ohio School Boards Association in Columbus, OH, September 12
  • Lisa Hamp – Indiana Emergency Response, Indianapolis, IN, September 13
  • Alissa Parker – Keynote presentation at the Partnering for Safe Schools: A Safety and Security Summit, hosted the Texas Association of School Boards in Austin, TX, September 13
  • Alissa Parker – Presented at a Time Out for Women event in Des Moines, Iowa, September 14-15
  • Todd Savage – Presented at PREPaRE2 in Midlothian, TX, September 17-18
  • Michele Gay – Johnson Controls Webinar, September 18
  • Michele Gay – Delivered keynote on response and recovery efforts for Mount Vernon, IN & Poseyville, IN
  • Alissa Parker – Participated in a panel discussion and delivered a presentation for the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) in Napa, CA, September 19
  • Michele Gay – Shared “A Parent’s Perspective” for the National Fire Protection Agency’s Active Shooter Summit in Easton and Worcester, MA, September 20-21
  • Alissa Parker  – Provided a Safe and Sound Youth Council and Straight-A Safety Toolkit training workshop for the Oregon PTA, in Portland, OR, September 22
  • Frank DeAngelis – Shared “Leadership Lessons from Columbine and Beyond” for the The Chancellor Summit on Teacher Education at Texas A&M International University, September 23.
  • Alissa Parker – Presented on response and recovery for the Olympic Educational Service District 114 in Bremerton, WA, September 24.
  • Michele Gay – Attended and presented at the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF) event, September 24.
  • Michele Gay – Shared “A Parent’s Perspective” for the Monroe County Board of Education in Georgia, September 26.
  • Frank DeAngelis – Delivered a presentation to Weedsport High School community members in NY, September 25-27.
  • Scott Poland – Discussed suicide prevention and intervention for the Capital Area Intermediate Unit in Summerdale, PA, September 28.