Turning on the evening news these days can make anyone feel anxious, and if you have kids it can be overwhelming to see a school incident in the headlines. As parents, we are always thinking about our children’s safety. We rely on our schools to maintain robust policies to keep our children from harm’s way. And we are looking for assurance that proper and essential procedures are in place to allow for the best possible outcome should the worst happen.
Providing all students with a safe and secure learning environment is the obligation and duty of every school district. Since 1999, districts have focused on the complex issue of School Safety, which includes a broad range of elements including, but not limited to: Threat Assessment, Emergency Operations Planning (EOP), and Reunification to Mental Health Awareness, Suicide Prevention, and Bullying Prevention.
While great strides have been made in the development of the School Safety initiative, we still have more work to do. To that end, agencies such as law enforcement, emergency response, government, and local community coalitions have joined in partnership to address this shared goal of School Safety. This joint effort has paved the way toward setting standards that all schools can follow, with resources and expansion continually being addressed.
Many of the Educational Service Districts in Washington State have been leaders in building bridges with a variety of organizations in the name of School Safety, providing much-needed training and resources to districts, and working to develop cooperatives to help reduce costs and provide additional support.
I am excited to share that our very own Northwest Educational Service District has joined in this effort and will be holding a School Safety Summit on January 10th, 2018. Along with the NWESD, Washington Schools Risk Management Pool (WSRMP) is sponsoring keynote speaker Michael Dorn, who will be on hand to address School Safety Fidelity. This presentation will be followed by a number of breakout sessions covering EOP, Threat Assessment, Reunification, Social Media and Cyberbullying, the Olweus Program, Compassion Fatigue, Suicide Prevention, Table Tops (Earthquake Preparedness and Mumps Outbreak), and School Safety. Presenters include Mike Donlin, OSPI Safety Center Program Supervisor; Jill Patnode, Director at PSESD; Krista Salinas, who specializes in Emergency Management; Charlene Ray, counselor and therapist specializing in grief and loss; and Dr. Rudy Lorber, board certified threat manager and forensic psychologist.
With constant shifts happening in School Safety, we don’t always have time to do the research necessary to stay informed on the latest developments. Below, I have compiled a list of resources that may help in that effort. School Safety doesn’t happen by accident – it takes all of us, working together, being attentive, vigilant, and committed, to provide Safe Schools.
The cost to attend the NWESD School Safety Summit is $95, lunch is provided.
Register for the School Safety Summit
If you have any questions please contact Jane Morgan at 360-299-4066, or Mia Troy at 360-299-4016.
School Safety Resources: