The school year is back in session for tens of millions of American children, including my twin boys. Keenly aware of security considerations, I like what I see at my kids’ school. Do you know much about your kids’ school…or grandkids for you older folks?
As parents, we expect these schools to proactively mitigate risk and keep our kids safe while they’re there. When visiting the school, if you as a layperson see obvious security weak points like unlocked exterior doors during school hours, there may be other issues that you didn’t notice. If school officials aren’t addressing these deficiencies, we as parents can help nudge them towards improving safety.
No one likes to deal with heightened security – until the wolf is at the door. However, when it comes to saving lives, proactivity beats reactivity every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Don’t assume. Be proactive as a parent. Assess your kids’ school security plans by opening a dialogue with your local school adminisrators.
The NRA’s School Shield program provides a great apolitical springboard for those discussions. Not only that, but the School Shield program will not only send out experts to do a security evaluation — at no charge — but they can also provide grant money to make any recommended security improvements.
Because the harder the target, the less likely a bad guy will successfully recreate another Parkland in your hometown.
Here are some questions the School Shield program has put together for parents to ask teachers and administrators to make sure they don’t have their heads in the sand when it comes to security.
1. Has our school ever had a vulnerability assessment done?
2. Does our school work with local law enforcement and emergency responders in crisis planning and training?
3. When was our emergency operations/crisis management plan last reviewed?
4. What types of drills are conducted at our school and at what frequency?
5. Are all exterior doors of our school locked during instructional hours?
6. Are all visitors to our school required to check in with the main office?
7. Are students and staff trained on how to identify and report suspicious or concerning behaviors/comments?
8. Does our school have a behavioral threat assessment team?
9. If there is an emergency, how and when are parents/guardians notified?
10. Do we have designated security personnel assigned to our school? If so, are they armed/unarmed?
In fact, there’s a guide you can download and print out with all of these questions. Or you can email it to your school’s administrators.
The School Shield website also has a series of videos talking about the security analysis their experts provide from the perspective of teachers, parents, paramedics, etc., as well as ways to implement increased security without frightening parents.
Don’t assume your kid’s school is as safe as it could (or should) be. You can help them make sure they work to mitigate risks and maximize safety. The life you save might be your son or daughter’s.