High-drama multi-agency intruder response simulations transpire daily in schools across America. This hyper-realistic approach to school safety has produced a flurry of litigation centering psychological trauma for adults and children. Furthermore, theatrical drills are not supported by empirical research and differ greatly from the ways schools prepare for other disasters, such as fires and tornadoes. For example, when the fire alarm sounds, students don’t enter a smoke-filled hallway. Dr. Perrodin offers key safety suggestions for staff, administrators, and students. FOR STAFF. Exercise situational awareness and trust your gut feeling - quickly report concerns to administration. Go thru the harassment and threat input system step-by-step with all students and give extra training to youth with special needs. ADMINISTRATORS. Assure staff that you will HAVE THEIR BACK if they exercise discretion to act in the best interest of students, others or self. Inform staff that is there is a school intruder event, the entire school property might be considered a crime scene and they might not be able to retrieve personal belongings or vehicles for a day or more. EDUCATE PARENTS. Inform parents that in the event of an intruder or other lockdown situation to NOT drive to the school to pick up their child unless directed to do so by the school. Parents converging on a scene interfere with emergency responders. Also, let them know that you will tell them that staging or pick-up areas as the situation will dictate where emergency officials deem those will be located - which could be several blocks or even a few miles away in the event of a tornado. Too often the evacuation site is a location a block away from the school. STUDENTS. Be explicit in covering the school handbook for areas of safety - including threat to others and threat of harm to self. Students can create PSA videos about the handbook. Have students demonstrate the reporting process. ALARMING FINDINGS ABOUT FIRE DRILL RESEARCH. Many schools throughout the United States are mandated to hold drills, or operational exercises, to prepare for fires, tornadoes, violence, and other emergencies. Despite recommendations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and USDOE, no local or federal agency routinely monitors the frequency and quality of school drills. Hence, drills are often checklist activities and not exercises to better inform practice. Furthermore, research that has been done to assess the impact of drills suggests that they produce both benefits, such as students learning the evacuation location, and drawbacks, including student apathy and becoming desensitized to drills. BETTER PRACTICES. Host a community assembly a week before school starts - record it, play it on cable access and make available from school website, how about a 30-second advertisement in the local movie theater? Tell people what to expect during and following a school crisis! 4 SIMPLE QUESTIONS WILL IMPROVE SCHOOL SAFETY. Within 30 minutes of a drill, have all staff respond to a four question survey that asks: (1) Your location during the drill, (2) Did you hear the announcement of the drill (3) Any questions / constructive input, (4) What questions did students have? FOLLOW. DR. PERRODIN: On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel & SoundCloud RSS feed. DR. PERRODIN'S SAFETY BLOG: crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com SAFETY DOC WEBSITE: www.safetyphd.com David will respond to discussion thread comments & emails. The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show is curse free & adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com

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