A PARTNERSHIP FOR SAFER SCHOOLS SEAN BURKE
FBI National Academy Associates and the School Safety Advocacy Council Partner to Train Law Enforcement and School Administrators Nationwide. A s president of the School Safety Advocacy Council , I have been lucky enough to work with school districts, law of a single community not working together. As I speak, instruct, and perform assessments nationwide this similar circumstance is found in districts and communities of all sizes and locations.
enforcement agencies, and communities nationwide to keep schools safe and further the efforts of law enforcement in schools. The unfortunate part of visiting these districts and communities is most of the time there is disconnect between the school district and the local law enforcement agency in their active shooter and emergency response planning and preparation. Even if the law enforcement agency has an SRO program, we usually find a lack of communication at the executive level. In a recent school safety assessment of a district with a large SRO program we found that the law enforcement agency, the fire services, and the school district all had emergency plans that contradicted each other. When representatives of the three organizations were questioned about the differences, all claimed that their plan would take prescient in any crisis. As we found, the organizations had never gotten together to discuss the emergency planning for the district, much less trained or drilled together. If this was an assessment finding ten or fifteen years ago no one reading this would be surprised but this was a finding that fol- lowed one of the deadliest school years in our nation’s history. What makes this even scarier is that this is not an isolated case
At the School Safety Advocacy Council, we stress the need to include all the stakeholders in emergency management training and planning for schools and communities. Having worked with communities and districts across the nation for over twenty-five years, I have seen this philosophy, when instituted properly, work extremely well when needed to be put into action during an actual crisis. When a school district and its community of first respond- ers develops a cooperative crisis plan based on the Incident Command System , trains together, then practices that plan, from tabletop exercises to full practical drills, it will always result in not only a better school, but community wide response. Following this process of preparation not only better prepares the school district but also improves the first responder’s actions to mitigate a crisis within the community. The process I described requires the understanding and direction from the leadership of the commu- nity, school district, and first responder organizations. It requires the understanding of the leadership that this process will lead to better preparation and response community wide because it may
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