Tips For Schools to Properly Communicate and Handle Active Threats

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The families of five Washington state high school students shot in a high school cafeteria in 2014 have settled a lawsuit against the school district’s insurance company for $18 million.  The settlement stems from a lawsuit alleging that a substitute teacher had been told of the possibility of a shooting but failed to alert school officials.

The cost of failing to report pertinent information goes beyond monetary implications, it includes the loss of lives, parents’ devastating loss of time with their children, the victims’ loss of a future and so much more.

How does a school system ensure that potentially threatening information shared with teachers is properly communicated among administrators and authorities?  Protocols should be established around critical information sharing, and training of how to respond to a threat – or even an active incident – and should be a part of every school’s emergency operation plan. Tools to share critical information can be put in place, such as adoption of mobile applications to communicate real-time information during a threat.

  • Communicate Threats – If threatening information is uncovered, staff should always share this information with appropriate personnel.  Uncovering threatening information is the first step in resolving a possible problematic situation and should not be taken lightly.  If this information presents itself prior to an incident, it could actually be the best scenario to averting a greater problem.
  • Training –   If not properly trained to handle an active threat, school personnel could become frozen with fear and shut down when they need to be at their best.  Training scenarios provide the perfect way to create real-life scenarios and train staff on how to respond and learn from their responses.  Consistent training will dramatically benefit staff if faced with a problematic situation, providing for a better outcome.
  • Technology – Adopting a tool to report critical information as it is happening is the best way to manage an active incident.  A tool to share information as it unfolds is the best way to inform staff and first responders, generating a better outcome.  This information can make a critical difference in life or death scenarios.

For example, ELERTS Event Alert reporting app allows staff to report incidents in real-time with other staff, administration and authorities.  This open channel of dialog can depict move by move of an incident with open communication throughout, keeping everyone immediately informed of behaviors, changes and happenings.  Along with information sharing during a live incident, Event Alert can be used to share everyday concerns as well as training staff in emergency response.

Is it worth $100 a month to have a safer school? 

BAck to School Event Alert

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Families in high school shooting settle lawsuit for $18M