Safety is a big issue in schools. We’ve had major, national school tragedies in Colorado, New Jersey, West Virginia and Washington State. But everyday––and in every state––something happens that derails an otherwise normal day. Fears about violence, bullying, drugs, medical issues and more are prevalent.
Safety statistics indicate that as many as 7% of students in grades K-12 stay at home because of fears about violence and lack of safety.*
What are schools and administrators doing about it? Many administrators feel they are doing all they can. They train teachers and practice drills. At the first sign of a problem, many are instructed to dial 9-1-1. But when talking to district leaders—too often is the phrase, “We’re all set,” repeated. What this really means is, “As a school leader, I’m so busy––I can’t think straight. After all, we already have a safety notebook and know how to dial the cops for help.”
That is the problem.
Schools talk about safety being a priority, but their approach is backwards. Looking at this issue from a teacher’s point of view––this would change an administrator’s perspective. With CrisisGo, we want to change “What do I DO now?”to “This is what I need to do NOW.” That’s the focus of our software; it makes following safety processes easier, more accessible and clearly more manageable.
So forget the, “We’re all set.” Let’s move to, “We know exactly what to do.”
That’s what happens with CrisisGo.
*NCES, National Center for Education Statistics
When listening to school administrators discuss student learning, both passion and focus rise to the top. At the Superintendent level, there is little doubt that most of their legacies are built by showing steady academic progress across their students. They’re able to do this despite the challenges of funding, unpredictable use of technology and for some ––the need to unify a range of instructors across common, proven learning practices.
When we dig a little deeper, the question of creating better learning environments emerges. Better facilities, more interactive classrooms, access to technology are all high on the list. Eventually, we touch on the topic of student safety as part of learning. “This is our top priority,” is a frequently heard statement. Who would argue with this?
Schools have many priorities; keeping students and staff safe is undoubtedly important. Updating safety plans annually, practicing safety drills and working with safety professionals are foundational. But if safety really is a (the?) priority––and makes a difference in learning––then the use of improved tools that coincides with these stated priorities needs to take place. It’s time to move beyond traditional paper-based procedures to build a new foundation for more comprehensive and adaptable digital safety plans.
If you are a school board member in Michigan, you probably know that there are a few state-required updates centered around school safety. What are they and how might these change school safety?
Michigan now requires results of safety drills to be posted on each district website, along with other safety related data. There’s also a requirement for students and staff to participate in at least 10 drills during the school year—though there are certain restrictions with the specific drill-types and timeframes. A summary is listed by clicking here
Why do we share these details? Because we are in the business of keeping students, staff and schools safe with a BETTER SAFETY PROCESS. Safety should still be the priority, but it should not be difficult or expensive.
I recently listened to Michele Gay who is co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools. She shared that when organizations rely on 3-ring binders or a few key people to alert them about a safety issue—problems can multiply. Michele speaks directly to this: she lost a daughter in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.
At CrisisGo, we address school safety in a no-nonsense way—with specialized 2-way communication tools for phones and pads. We use audible alerts, controlled (but comprehensive) messaging, emergency contacts, safety calendars—all from the palm of your hand.
Our CrisisGo software is the most comprehensive safety software for schools; it can be used with almost any smartphone or tablet. It’s instant, managed, integrated and 2-way. Because our software allows customization for each staff member…every action-response is known to the specific user. The result is a much safer school environment, staff that is more knowledgeable about safety procedures—and a much better-prepared community.
You might say that schools that use CrisisGo are prepared 24/7/365 for anything…bullying, severe weather, accidents, lockdowns…whatever might be a SAFETY CONCERN in the district.
Most schools tell us safety is their #1 issue. Never has there been a more important concern in all schools than keeping kids safe. When we visit with safety officers and administrators it seems a large part of their plans involve using local law enforcement to assist. Dialing 9-1-1 is the standard.
The challenge for each of these organizations is that during a crisis that affects many buildings––like severe weather or a chemical spill––local emergency teams are greatly strained. Openly discussing these types of incidents with staff should be part of a total Emergency Response Plan (ERP). Doing so creates a greater awareness of the critical importance of having a safety action plan that is accessible, up-to-date, coordinated and responsive.
Just ask Michele Gay, who experienced first-hand the tragedy at Sandy Hook. Michele’s Lunch and Learn webinar will be held on February 18th. The title is, “What Happens When Your Leaders Can’t Lead?” This is in reference to the Sandy Hook Elementary School emergency plan, but the people who were in charge of leading that plan were either killed or wounded. Michele a co-founder of the Safe Schools Foundation. If you’d like to see her comments, click here.