By Christopher R. Morral, Project Consultant / Educational Liaison
As a K-12 construction manager and stakeholder within school districts in New York and Pennsylvania, we strive to enhance and promote best practices in the 21st century. When reviewing, revising, and implementing your emergency management plan, include your onsite construction management team within your stakeholder group to assist in being better prepared in the event of a crisis. Our team members have years of experience in providing districts with solutions to improving school security and have a network of partners that can provide advanced solutions to helping you ensure a safe and secure learning environment for all members within a school community. Each of the suggested items within the checklist is intended only as a guide and is not a requirement under any regulation or legislation.
As a result of increased threats to the public as well as student populations, both law enforcement officials and school administrators have been challenged to take a more proactive approach to school safety. Comprehensive emergency management plans combined with a multi-agency team approach is necessary. At the district and school levels, involving community partners, first responders, parents, school neighbors, and public and mental health professionals is critical to providing a safe environment for learning. From the perspective of a K-12 construction manager, our team has recognized several checklist items for you to consider as a stakeholder within your district;
K-12 Security Checklist
• Does your district have an emergency plan which includes community partners, first responders, parents, school neighbors, and public and mental health professionals?
• Have you evaluated and identified threats and vulnerabilities as a result of a professional security assessment?
• Have you evaluated and identified threats and vulnerabilities for natural disasters, infectious diseases, illnesses, fire and weather related events?
• Does your district regularly review policies and procedures relative to open access to school grounds and buildings?
• Does your district regularly meet and discuss areas of need for improved infrastructure with local law enforcement?
• Do you provide solutions for prevention, protection, and mitigation of risks for stakeholders to report and identify threats?
• Has your district assisted in educating the community about attack and individual behavior indicators?
• Does your district take a proactive approach to increased surveillance on school grounds and buildings?
• Are all school community stakeholders actively engaged in participating in protective measures intended to deter, delay, and detect threats?
• In the event of a crisis, have all lines of communication been established to implement mass notification procedures?
• Has your district considered recovery strategies to return to learning while restoring infrastructure of the school as quickly as possible?
• Do you take a proactive approach to regular review and evaluation of your emergency plan?
Chris brings more than 20 years of educational experience along with a comprehensive understanding of issues facing public education today. They include school safety, pupil/personnel issues, employment law, school law, curriculum development, and construction processes. In his most recent role as Superintendent of Schools, Chris demonstrated a thorough understanding of the unique challenges facing school boards, superintendents, and communities. Chris has successfully helped many school districts through capital projects, feasibility studies, safe schools initiatives, and curricular evaluation. Chris understands 21st century learning and has assisted school leaders in growing professional learning communities where administrators and teachers collaborate, share ideas, and continue to learn and grow in their professional roles for the benefit of students.