By Nadine Bubeck
As parents, it’s inevitably on our minds, sending our kids back to school after ending the 2022 school year drowning in horrific headlines. Surely, we can’t help but ponder a Uvdale-like situation happening in our community, leaving us unsettled, worrisome, and nauseated.
The experts at Pro Defense Advisors out of Scottsdale says 83% of attacks last five minutes or less; 44% end in one minute. In addition, the average police response time in the United States is seven to 10 minutes. Let that sink in.
So, what can parents do to proactively play a role in ensuring the safety of local schools? Well, Pro Defense Advisors suggests asking your district and administrators five safety questions. Such inquiries will better educate parents on protocol, as well as encourage schools to achieve maximum safety measures.
Here are the questions to get the conversation started.
Question 1: Does your campus have a dedicated School Resource Officer (SRO) program?
Why Ask: A dedicated SRO should be officed and assigned to your school for the 40-hour workweek and not split between other locations. The officer should have a fully marked patrol vehicle, usually parked in the front of the building. The role of the SRO is to be a dedicated security agent constantly patrolling campus. They also have several duties other than security, such as teaching safety classes, increasing community engagement, and responding to regular services calls.
Question 2: Has the school district conducted a full Threat Vunerability Assessment (TVA)?
Why Ask: These assessments can be completed by the Homeland Defense Bureau of a local police department or private security consultants, such as Pro Defense Advisors. The on-site analysis provides a detailed report on campus threats and offer solutions to better secure the campus.
Question 3: What is the school’s Lockdown Plan and Drill Schedule?
Why Ask: A Lockdown Plan and performing regular drills, like fire drills, are incredibly important, as it gives teachers and students practice should a real-life situation occur. Food for thought: fire drills are usually conducted once per month, and the last child that perished in a school fire was 1958. Statistics have shown that no child has been killed behind a locked classroom door during an active shooting situation. What is your school’s drill and protocol?
Question 4: Does your school have a Parent/Guardian Reunification Plan?
Why Ask: A Parent/Guardian Reunification Plan should be clearly communicated with parents/guardians prior to school beginning for the semester. This plan outlines communication in a critical incident as well as the parent/guardian response to the scene, accountability of students, etc.
Question 5: Does the school have a standard EOP for any type of emergency (attacker, flood, fire, etc.)?
Why Ask: This plan should outline policy and procedures for the FEMA protocols. The Incident Command System (ICS) should be in place and the school staff should be properly trained. School staff will likely be the first and last line of defense for any critical incident at your school.
If you seek additional resources for education on active shooting situations, there are numerous avenues available, including the RUN-HIDE-FIGHT video supported by the FBI (available on YouTube), as well as ALICE – Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.
As a reminder, always encourage your children: if you see something, say something. Reiterate that school is a place where students should feel safe in expressing concern to an adult, and all reports should be taken seriously. Create an open-door policy with your kids and welcome communication. As parents, report all things questionable. For more information, visit prodefenseadvisors.com.
Nadine Bubeck is a Scottsdale based boy mom and journalist: nadinebubeck.com. Follow her on Instagram @mamaandmyboys.