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Report: School Safety Plans Lacking

Posted June 13, 2007

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— School districts nationwide lack the equipment and training to implement safety plans in the event of an emergency, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

The Government Accountability Office study looked at school districts nationwide, including the school systems in Wake, Durham, Chatham, Lee and Granville counties. It found that most school districts are developing emergency procedures to cover a range of hazards, but many of the plans don't meet federally recommended practices.

Also, school districts might be missing out on federal funding for their emergency plans, according to the study, which was requested by 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge.

"Schools are in the business of educating children, but they're also about providing safety," said Etheridge, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Close to two-thirds of districts lack the proper equipment and trained staff to handle an emergency, the report said. For example, 56 percent of the districts surveyed have no plan for holding classes in the event of extended school closures, and many districts don't train with local first responders.

"You can't have homeland security without hometown security," Etheridge said, proposing a deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security to better coordinate schools' planning and response to emergencies. "At the end of the day, everyone's going to be involved in this process."

8 Comments

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  • djofraleigh Jun 14, 2007

    My thoughts were how we would continue education if there was a pandemic and everyone was home for a month or so. Preplanning makes sense.

    Schools are safe, safer than kids left at home alone, for sure. Arming selected teachers is not the way to go. Those guns would make schools less safe because they are there. Who was the last student killed by a gun at a Wake County School? How many have been murdered on a Wake County campus in the last hundred years?

    Worry more about what students are exposed to when at school. Worry about what they are learning. Worry about how you are going to be more involved.

  • krazi_katt Jun 14, 2007

    "how could a parent send their kid to public school these days? you're just asking for it..."

    Hey not all parents have a choice! I would love to send my son to a private school but the reality of life is that you can't get everything. Besides, I went to private school and there were numerous messed up kids there as well. The only difference is that they had money but still acted like idiots!

  • kal Jun 14, 2007

    What good is a safety plan if a person commiting crimes only gets an ankle bracelet (Chapel Hill HS cse where student took another students and a teacher hostage with a gun). And again, why are we having difficulty finding qualified teachers.

  • it is getting worse Jun 14, 2007

    how could a parent send their kid to public school these days? you're just asking for it...

  • Hadtosayit Jun 13, 2007

    Schools are some of the most unsecure places and the idea that you can secure them without turning them into prisons is naive. Many schools in the Wake county area for example have WELL over a thousand students on campus daily and most schools are lucky if they have one SRO. I know security gets worse as you get away from urban areas and most law enforcement agencies could'nt even begin to respond to a real threat effectively.
    School active shooter plans are all over the internet as they are mostly standardized across the country and most of the students (which is where the highest threat comes from)have been through so many drills they know whats going on better than the responding officers.
    But hey, you are no more secure at the mall, in the grocery store or in church. Just turn on the news sometime.

    Kinda makes you feel warm inside...

    But things like that don't happen here.... just keep sticking soccer ball magnets to your minivans and it will be okay.

  • shep8851 Jun 13, 2007

    I also am a teacher in a high school. We are out in the woods, well, the low rent district of our county,we are 12 miles from the Sheriffs office ( Swat Team people), we have one SRO on campus, and 17 separate entrances to the building from the outside. The movement to arm selected teachers is getting bigger.

  • sallysmom Jun 13, 2007

    I would have to agree with methinks...I'm a local teacher, and my school is spread over three buildings and has over 20 separate entrances, all of which stay unlocked during the school day. Additionally, we have mobile units spread out over campus as well. The idea that my school could be secured is ludicrous.

  • methinks Jun 13, 2007

    Will not do any good to try and have some sort of safety plan with the schools when the media publishes what that plan is. Our school system has a plan in place in the event of a shooter on campus, but the local paper printed the plan and all the details of what the steps are, what the teachers are suppose to do, and what the police are suppose to do. Any literate criminal can now plan to out smart our safety plan.