Whether it's the first or last day of school, safety is always a priority for parents and educators. From staying in crosswalks to knowing how to effectively execute a lock-down drill, school administrators, educators, staff and local police across the state are working to ensure the safety of students.
Whether it’s the first or last day of school, safety is always a priority for parents and educators. From staying in crosswalks to knowing how to effectively execute a lock-down drill, school administrators, educators, staff and local police across the state are working to ensure the safety of students.
The Delaware Omnibus School Safety Act, signed into law in 2012 by Gov. Jack Markell, mandated that all schools, districts and first responders work with the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security to develop a comprehensive school safety plan.
The Milford Beacon recently asked former Milford School District School Resource Officer Joseph Melvin, who is now the deputy director of the state’s Comprehensive School Safety Plan, for some advice before students head back to class:
Q: What are the main goals for statewide school safety plans this year?
A: This year, we are encouraging school administrators to strengthen relationships with their area first responders. Delaware’s Comprehensive School Safety planning is never ending and a strong working relationship with first responders will be invaluable to school officials as they continually review and re-evaluate their school safety plans. We continue to see tremendous success in regards to district and charter school compliance, especially when the school and emergency responders work as a team. Through Gov. Markell’s signing of the Omnibus School Safety Act in 2012, Delaware has become a model for the rest of the country in the realm of statewide school safety planning. Not all incidents are preventable, but school safety planning can certainly mitigate the effect on our schools and communities.
Q: What should students know about school safety before heading back to class?
A: Students should understand that they are active participants in their schools’ safety plan. Students should ask questions about their school emergency plan and know what’s expected of them. Students should also take an active role in safety by immediately reporting any and all suspicious and/or threatening activity. If students see something, they should say something.
Q: What should educators know about school safety before heading back to class?
A: Educators, as well as students, need to take an active role in school safety. Educators need to be proactive and it is imperative that they understand their school’s emergency responses prior to any event. Unfortunately, during an emergency is not the time to read a plan.
Q: How can parents prepare their children for school safety and emergency procedures before sending them back to school?
A: Parents should make time to visit their child’s school and inquire about school safety plans. While the schools are encouraged not to share the actual plan, informing parents of potential reunification points and processes is of great value pre-incident. Parents should also inquire as to how they will receive communication from the district during an emergency and ensure they have provided the most up to date contact information.
SCHOOL SAFETY AT A GLANCE
Optimal frequency of lock-down drills: Monthly
60 Current number of school resource officers (statewide)
4 Current number of districts with RAPTOR visitor management systems
21 Current number of school buildings with RAPTOR visitor management systems