America’s Safe Schools Week, which is observed Oct. 17-21, is the perfect opportunity for Kansas schools to review and/or enhance their crisis plans.
Each day of the week, another area of school safety is highlighted:
Monday, Oct. 17: Emergency Operation Plans (EOP)
Lessons learned from school emergencies highlight the importance of preparing school officials and first responders to implement emergency operations plans. By having plans in place to keep students and staff safe, schools play a key role in taking preventative and protective measures to stop an emergency from occurring or reduce the impact of an incident.
Plans should include five mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery and how to work with and include community partners, such as police, fire, emergency medical services and emergency management, in the planning process.
Members of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Safe and Secure School Unit are happy to take the time to sit down with administrators at schools to review, enhance or create new plans that support these five missions, while identifying and prioritizing those hazards that would be common in that area. Contact information is at the end of this article.
Tuesday, Oct. 18: Mental health
Suicide is the No. 2 leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is important to be mindful of everyone’s mental health – especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resources: Kansas School Mental Health Advisory Council (ksde.org)
Bullying Prevention (ksde.org)
Suicide Awareness and Prevention - Training (ksde.org)
Review a list of all Required Staff and Student Trainings (includes Suicide Prevention):
Required Training List Update 22.pdf (ksde.org)
Wednesday, Oct. 19: Nine drills
Senate Bill 128 mandates the following nine drills be conducted during the school year: four fire drills, two tornado drills (September and March) and three crisis drills.
The crisis drills are conducted under the guidance from the Safe and Secure Schools Unit from KSDE. These drills should be conducted with the best trauma informed practices in mind.
Link: Fire Drills Checklist
Thursday, Oct. 20: Hotline, Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR)
KSDE and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) partnered to create the reporting tool for schools and community. The Kansas School Safety Hotline, which can be reached at (877) 626-8203, contacts the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Resources: Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR)
Friday, Oct. 21: Recovery
Recovery for schools means the capabilities necessary to assist schools affected by an event or emergency in restoring the learning environment.
Recovery can never be done alone. Schools must team up with community partners to address the four components essential to recovery: 1) restore educational programming; 2) the physical environment; 3) business operations; and 4) social, emotional and behavioral health.
Recovery is a mission area that we don’t always include in our exercise/drills. But when it comes down to it, recovery becomes one of the most important factors when you are trying to get back to normal or close to normal as you can when reopening schools after a major incident.
Resource: Recovery for Schools and School Districts (ed.gov)
Find current guidelines on school drill information, planning resources, posters and more on the Kansas Safe and Secure Schools homepage: https://www.ksde.org/Kansas-Safe-Schools.
A Safe and Supportive Schools Conference will take place Jan. 30-31 at Hilton Gardens Inn in Manhattan. The conference will focus on five strands - communication, cyber technology, mental health, social-emotional/trauma-informed care and overall safety. Currently, KSDE is seeking presenters. To apply, go to Call for Presenters (google.com). The deadline to apply is Dec. 15.
If you have questions or need assistance, email or call:
John Calvert at (785) 296-7056 or
Jim Green at (785) 296-4946.
In this edition | Feature Story | Assessments and Accountability | Reporting and Operations
Standards and Instruction | Student Health and Nutrition | Upcoming Events, Trainings and Recognition
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