Aug 19, 2020
Following the tragic loss of 17 lives due to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day 2018, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) at the U.S. Department of Justice brought together the leaders of national law enforcement organizations. The School Safety Working Group, which is composed of representatives from eight national law enforcement organizations, has identified 10 essential actions that can be taken by schools, school districts, and law enforcement agencies to help prevent critical incidents involving the loss of life or injuries in our nation's schools and to respond rapidly and effectively when incidents do occur. IACLEA Special Adviser Jeff Alison served as the chairperson and staffed the working group.
Ten Essential Actions to Improve School Safety, the School Safety Working Group’s report, is now available at: https://cops.usdoj.gov/RIC/Publications/cops-w0891-pub.pdf Allison was the principal author of the report.
The actions outlined in the report are applicable to school shootings as well as to other areas of school safety, including natural disasters and traumatic events such as student suicide. While the primary audience for the report is K - 12 school safety stakeholders, many of the measures outlined are applicable to colleges and universities.
The recommendations in this report remain pertinent even as our nation and school communities face the simultaneous challenges of a pandemic, significant state and local budget cuts, and high levels of social tension. As some schools return to in-person learning, they will be welcoming back students who have experienced an unprecedented disruption in the normal rhythm of their lives. By paying attention to the comprehensive safety and security needs of each school community, educators can hopefully provide students and teachers a semblance of normalcy and an important sense of safety.