While we hope to never have to respond to a school tragedy the likes of Columbine or Sandy Hook, the reality is schools will be faced with natural and man-made events that impact students, staff, parents, families and the community.
Today, our schools are better prepared to prevent or mitigate school violence, and to respond to school incidents and emergencies. There is still no 100 percent guarantee that our schools will be violence-free. And, while there are no easy solutions, there are intelligent alternatives to reduce the risks to life and property.
One understanding is essential:
The goals of improved academic achievement and an established safe school environment are interdependent. Safety is the strength of success; without it, education falls short of its mission and students fall short of their potential.
In January 2013, Bloomington Public Schools partnered with the Bloomington Police and Fire Departments to initiate a two-phase School Safety & Security Review to assess its current school safety and security measures.
Phase One consisted of a school-by-school analysis to determine the perceived level of safety among various stakeholders (e.g. students, staff and parents) through a facilitated discussion that sought input on current safety measures and barriers to improved safety measures. This process of “taking the temperature” of our key stakeholders provided valuable insights into the perception and tolerance for security changes to our schools.
Phase Two was a formal school safety and security audit to identify vulnerabilities and threats. The audit was conducted by Paul McCullough, a 26-year veteran of the Bloomington Police Department and current school security consultant.
This report provides a series of recommendations intended to better prepare for, protect against and respond to future school emergencies.
The full report and recommendations are contained in the following documents: