When you send your child to school, it is important to know that their safety is a priority to the school. A Gallup Poll finding from August says that three in ten parents worry about their child’s safety at school. One way to ensure the safety of your child while they are at school is to inquire about the school’s crisis plan for active shooter or violent intruder situations. Preparing for an active shooter or violent intruder event is just as important as planning for a fire or tornado.

Ask administration about the policy for how students and teachers are supposed to respond to an active shooter or violent intruder event. Let administration know you would like to be a part of the conversation. Below are five suggestions to offer to school administration of ways to increase safety preparedness for an active shooter or violent intruder event.

1. Have a Proactive Rather than Passive Policy

Make administration aware of the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) response strategies and that ALICE has age appropriate material for young children. Taking a proactive response that offers multiple options increases the chances of survival that are not otherwise present in a policy that is passive.

2. Make Sure the Policy Aligns with Federal Guidelines

Make sure the policy the school has in place meets guidelines. Give administration a copy of the latest Department of Education’s Guide for Developing High Quality School Emergency Operations Plans and the case study outlining why a lockdown only response does not meet federal and state recommendations.

3. Make Sure All Teachers are Trained

Suggest having a conversation with teachers to discuss the options they have for protecting their students and themselves during an active shooter or violent intruder event. Make sure that the plans are reviewed with teachers and that all teachers are trained. Read over the seven tips for classroom setup blog for suggestions.  

4. Train Students and Practice Regularly

Suggest that the school discuss with students often about “If…then..” scenarios to mentally prepare them as to what they would do individually and as a team should any violent event happen at the school. Regular practice will help students gain confidence in the options they have during an active shooter or violent intruder event.

5. Empower and Authorize Individuals

Make sure that individuals at the school are empowered with strategies to help them  make life-saving decisions for themselves and others based on the situation at hand.

It is crucial to have a plan before a crisis happens. Communicating and practicing with all stakeholders is also important. These suggestions are meant to provide resources for you to offer to your child’s school administration to assist in further developing their crisis plan and the security of the school against violent situations. Keep in mind that it is your right, as the parent, to know what the school expects of your child and faculty during a violent event.

To learn more about the questions you can ask school administration about preparing for an active shooter or violent intruder event read the blog. We hope that this information is helpful to you and that you continue to have confidence in the measures taken by your child’s school to protect its students and faculty against violent situations.

Updated 10-15-2015