Posts

Summer is here, school is out, and many of us are left with newfound free time. Many of us may find ourselves vacationing with our friends and family, but for those of us who work in school communities, summer is also a time to plan and learn. Here are 5 ways you can continue to improve school safety this summer:

1) Assess, Act, and Audit. To assess, act, and audit, download the Straight-A Safety Toolkit for free to begin taking steps toward rethinking and improving school safety in your school community. Our free toolkits are designed to facilitate conversations, problem-solving, and partnerships in your school community.  Learn about threats, components to an assessment, strategies, security oversights, layers of security, and more. You’ll also have access to activities, drills, and other exercises. Use the summer to evaluate where your school stands on the safety spectrum and take steps toward improving plans and practices for the new school year.

2) Attend a school safety or security conference. Safety and security conferences are great educational opportunities, capable of providing you with new perspectives, ideas, and approaches to school safety. In addition to to educational opportunities like workshops and presentations, conferences also facilitate networking opportunities with other individuals in the field. Meet the experts, network with peers, and consider visiting some of the vendors to learn more about security solutions. You’ll not only be investing in your career development but you’ll also be able to bring new ideas to the table when the school year begins. Interested in seeing our co-founder Michele Gay speak? She’ll be at the Campus Safety Conference this month. Learn more here.  

3) Hold a staff training or workshop. Invite a Safe and Sound Speaker to your summer safety affair. From mental health, to bullying prevention, to social emotional learning, to reunification and recovery, Safe and Sound Schools has speakers that will work with your team to educate and  bring new perspectives and ideas. As an exciting side note, we are in process of updating our Speaker’s Bureau with more speakers! If there is a topic you’d like to see, please share your feedback with us.

4) Build relationships. Summer is a perfect time to mix and mingle and bring school safety stakeholders together. Help first responders, school resource officers, and other safety teams get to know each other. This can be an informal luncheon for safety stakeholders, combining the laid back and social aspect of summer with discussion, collaboration and planning for the new school year.

5) Update ICE cards. It only takes a couple minutes. Print or make a new “in case of an emergency” card and fill in current contact information. Make sure to include a primary contact, a secondary contact, and an out-of-town contact for your student. You can also include other important details like medical conditions and allergies. Make at least two copies, one for students to keep in their backpack/wallet and another to share with their teacher/school. And while we tend to think of ICE cards as a resource for students, teachers can also benefit from having one of their own. Include an emergency contact, the principal’s phone number, a local police number, and a doctor’s name and phone number. Other details like allergies and medical conditions can also be included. And since we live in a time where some of us have ditched paper and embraced technology, don’t forget that smart phones also allow us to store and share ICE information on our mobile devices. Make sure to update those too.

If you have any other suggestions on how school communities can continue to improve school safety over the summer, feel free to share your ideas with our community by commenting below, connecting with us on social media, or sending us an email. Don’t forget to subscribe if you’d like to see more content like this. Here’s to a safe, fun, and productive rest of your summer!

 

For a minute, I want you to close your eyes.  I am going to ask you to go to a place that is difficult to go to for all of us.

Parents, I want you to imagine what it would be like to get a phone call from your child’s school informing you that there has been a shooting and that the children are currently in lockdown.  School facility members, imagine the sounds you might hear the moment you realize that an intruder has entered into your school to do harm.

Police officers, superintendents, school board members, etc…, imagine that you all get that same horrific call.  What does your heart feels like?  Where does your mind go?  Do you know the flaws and vulnerabilities of your school?  Is your school ready for this?  Are you ready?  Do you know what you are supposed to do?  Do you feel confident the school is prepared to respond?

Now I want you to make a list for me.  Make a list of all the things you know in your heart haven’t been addressed or prepared for an emergency situation like this.  Then I want you to look at your list and tell me how you feel.

It is a hard place to go, believe me I have experienced it first hand.  I relive it every time I see news coverage after another school shooting (29 and counting since Sandy Hook) and how their community never thought something that horrible could happen to them.  It is hard to really open yourself up to seeing the world you live in as a dangerous place.  No one wants to feel like they are sending their children somewhere where they may be vulnerable.  No one wants to work in a place they feel is dangerous.  So if we all know we don’t want this problem… why do we avoid fixing the problem?  When we refrain from asking the tough questions, we prevent ourselves from ever finding solutions.

Start today to help your schools improve safety.  How do you begin?  Our toolkits can help inform you of the steps you need to take and resources available.  Start by getting an assessment done for your school.  Did you know there are free assessments and resources out there?  FREE!

We invite you to read through our site and get inspired to make your school safer today!  If there is something you would like to see and don’t, we love feed back!  We are here to help you.  Contact us at info@safeandsoundschools.org and challenge yourselves to ask those tough questions.

AP