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School Safety Expert Says School Safety Needs to Come First
Date:8/21/2013

ks for safety concerns and risks in the physical facilities, but more importantly in the daily policies and practices of the school,” she said. “There is often a major discrepancy between what a school’s policy says to do, and what is actually done in practice. The intruder assessments clearly illustrate that while a school may have a visitor sign-in policy, unlocked or propped open doors, a lack of supervision and even “tailgating” in through a buzzer systems with other visitors can give unauthorized individuals almost complete access to a school and to students, despite what the policy says.”

Dr. Klinger said she believes that districts’ comprehensive crisis planning or crisis management needs more attention.

“We need to look at bringing our staff, our community, our students together and train them to understand what needs to happen,” she said. “How they need to think differently about safety. How they have ownership of safety. It's not just one person in the building who is responsible for the safety of the building.”

Klinger said we all need to see school leaders, police officers, mental health professionals and parents working together to deal with threats and stop tragedies before they happen.

“We need to be more proactive about assessing the threats that are present, not just for potential school shooters, but for anyone who is risk of committing violence against himself or others,” she said.

Klinger said it is critical that schools develop threat assessment teams that deal not just with facility concerns, but with concerns about people.

“The threat assessment process identifies and assesses individuals of concern by helping schools to ‘connect the dots’ between what is happening with a potentially violent individual in school, at home and in the community,” she said. “Parents play a big role. They must make sure children know that to do if tragedy strikes and find a balance between scaring and preparing
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