CHICAGO – Most schools’ emergency plans are outdated, especially against technologies like the Internet and cell phones, safety experts said Friday.
Districts that don’t review and update plans for a terrorist attack or shooting rampage won’t be prepared when a crisis occurs, experts warned principals and superintendents at the National School Boards Association convention in Chicago.
“Most people find out that they have a real nice plan that’s shiny, laminated, pretty on paper. (But) nobody’s read it, it’s got questionable content and hasn’t been exercised,” said Kenneth Trump, a school safety consultant and president of Cleveland-based National School Safety and Security Services. […]
“It is amazing that while Congress pumps homeland security money into protecting airports and their own Capitol Hill offices, they are simultaneously cutting funding to protect our nation’s most valuable resources – the students and teachers in our schools,” Lavarello said.
There is a Teacher’s Union/cost-per-student/education reform argument there, but this isn’t the place for that. Suffice it to say that if administrators thought it was important, the money would be found. They don’t so it isn’t. Why spend money on safety when you can run an influence campaign? Remember this the next time you hear about little Johnny getting suspended for wearing a GI Joe t-shirt (depicts a gun and there is a “zero-tolerance” policy on guns . . . or, ah, drawings of guns), and little Sally getting detention for carrying a cell phone (she might text message friends instead of study . . . or call 911 during an emergency).
Patriot Games fantasies notwithstanding, one school resource officer isn’t much of a defense against a half-dozen AQ hell-bent on going Red Lake or Columbine. Unlike some theories on where we need to pay attention, this isn’t a threat only likely to take place in a screenplay: it is happening today. Exacting revenge for the death of children is often given as a reason for “their” anger and justification for attacks against innocents, so we should be rightly horrified when it happens, we just shouldn’t be surprised.
Thank you for allowing this soon-to-have-a-child-in-public-school father to rant slightly off-topic.