By Reshan Cooray, Senior Director of Risk Services for ASCIP
It’s only been a little over two years since the terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center, when another horrific event occurred on Monday, April 10, 2017 in San Bernardino at North Park Elementary School. A male died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after shooting and killing a female special needs teacher. Two students were injured in the incident; one, later that day, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Certainly, our hearts go out to the faculty, staff, students, and parents of the San Bernardino City Unified School District and to all members of the San Bernardino community.
Such incidents remind us that its important to review our policies and procedures on school security and how we communicate this information to parents. Below are some recommendations for school safety and how to best protect your students and staff against similar events:
- Maintain close relationships with your local police, sheriffs and fire departments, along with city officials, and utilize resources that may be available through such agencies.
- Continually review and update your District’s Comprehensive School Safety Plan (CSSP) and provide training to staff.
- Periodically review and update your District’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program (WVPP) and provide training to staff.
- Ensure that all sites adhere to your District’s Visitor Policy and have all visitors sign in at the front office. Consider having a Visitor Policy that prevents classroom visits during instructional times (for example, the teacher could come to the office in the event of an urgent need).
- Encourage staff to share information about domestic violence or other personal safety concerns to District Human Resources. Consider filing Restraining Orders to Stop Workplace Violence, whenever necessary (see, http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/wv100.pdf )
- Ensure campuses are secured during school hours. Regularly practice school-wide drills, including lockdown drills, to prepare for worst case scenarios. After drills, collect and provide feedback to staff to continually improve procedures.
- Maintain an emergency communication system to connect rapidly with parents by phone, text, and/or email.
- Ensure staff has a heightened sense of awareness for suspicious behavior. All threats should be taken seriously and district staff should complete follow-up actions accordingly.
- Seek parent involvement/assistance to identify suspicious behavior or concerns.
ASCIP is available to work with you to identify and provide resources for school safety/security concerns and assist you in updating your various plans. If your District needs a security consultation, ASCIP can provide this at no cost to members. In addition, we have a number of webinars scheduled related to assessing threats and violence prevention in schools. You can access our entire training calendar under the Training tab or by clicking on the following link: Training
Below are additional resources that you may find helpful:
Times like these remind us that we all are responsible for the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Please contact your ASCIP Risk Services Consultant at (562) 404-8029 should you have any questions or if we can assist further.