In my opinion school safety is like insurance. You are preparing for the bad things in life: the unexpected, the uncontrollable. We have medical insurance in case we get sick. We have car insurance in case we wreck. We have home owners or renter’s insurance in cases of floods, fires, or other damage. Finally, we have life insurance to help our loved ones after we are gone. All these things are there in preparation for the unknown.
Plan and Prepare
School safety is no different. We prepare for fires, yet in my 18 years as a student and 21 years as a teacher, I have never had an actual fire evacuation. Here in Ohio I have had to use my tornado drill knowledge twice: once during an in-service and once with students.
The scariest of all safety drills to prepare for is an unwanted intruder of some kind. They are the headline news stories we see and read about. These are the ones that make us the most nervous. The ultimate in “what if” scenarios.
Instead of sitting back and relaxing about your policies and steps, go at it. We plan everything else in education, why not safety? Student curriculum is scheduled, combed over, and laid out a year in advance.
Simplifying the Process
The Emergency Management app/website platform greatly assists with this preparation and execution by streamlining the process by which things are carried out in the school building. All the information is there, it’s available, and it can be easily updated by those in charge. No more old maps, old handouts, or old signs. Everything can easily be kept current and up to date and synced for everyone.
If something were to take place, you do not want prying eyes and outside entities complaining and analyzing everything you did wrong. Instead you want to show them you are actively thinking about the safety of the children. You want to be the “we had a process in place” district: the school system with everything laid out, the ones with the plan. While no one wishes to actually use their safety plans for fires, tornadoes, etc., it is vital to review and rehearse them.
Technology Resource Teacher at Wooster City Schools
Thank you, Chad, for sharing your thoughts on school safety with our community!