Federal agencies launch website on school safety and security
Washington — The Department of Education – together with the departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, and Homeland Security – has launched a new website it calls a “one-stop shop of resources” for K-12 teachers, administrators, parents and law enforcement to identify, prepare for, respond to and mitigate school safety threats.
SchoolSafety.gov features links to numerous resources – including videos, training tools and programs, fact sheets, and reports from various federal agencies – to “make school safety initiatives more actionable.” Among the topics addressed are bullying and cyberbullying; emergency planning; mental health; physical security; recovery; school climate; school security personnel; threat assessment and reporting; and training, exercises and drills.
The website also includes:
- The School Safety Readiness Tool – an assessment that helps users evaluate their respective school’s safety posture across 10 foundational elements of school safety. After completing the assessment, users are provided an action plan with task prioritization, options for consideration, aligned resources and grant opportunities specific to individual needs.
- A secure information-sharing platform for designated school personnel to share school safety ideas, practices, plans and tactics in a protected environment.
- A wide array of resources and best practices on key school safety topics to assist with building awareness within the school community to promote vigilance and build capacity to respond to incidents.
SchoolSafety.gov stresses to school leaders the importance of developing and implementing an Emergency Operations Plan. The EOP process should include teachers and a wide range of school personnel, including administrators and school psychologists, as well as community partners.
“Because every school community has its own unique needs, SchoolSafety.gov equips decision-makers with resources for developing, customizing and implementing actionable school safety plans,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, chair of the Federal Commission on School Safety, said in a Feb. 10 press release.
After the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, that killed 17 people – including three school employees – President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the commission to review safety efforts and recommend best practices to help keep schools safe. In December 2018, the commission released its final report, which recommended that the federal government create a clearinghouse to provide school safety strategies and serve as a central location for federal resources.