In 2017, the Secure Schools Alliance (the Alliance) began a unique relationship with the DomPrep Journal. The goal was to raise awareness of the need to improve K-12 school security within the emergency preparedness community.
Recognizing that school shootings are low-probability/high-consequence events, The Alliance has provided digital content to the journal over the past year. This content began with the macro argument of why school security needs to be improved and concluded with a call to recognize that schools are a critical part of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, which has been ignored for way too long.
These articles showed that one does not need to sustain a physical injury to be a victim of a mass event at a school. They expressed the need to educate students on what “see something say something” means and the critical role of the public safety community in the education of youths. They shared how one community has been impacted by multiple mass incidents and how they responded and recovered.
As the Alliance and its partners make the rounds with legislators and policy makers, the question is frequently asked, “How much will school security improvements cost?” One article showed how much the favored approach, The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) guidelines, cost one school district and what that approach would cost on a state-by- state basis.
A huge concern in the frenzy after recent school shootings is the need to balance security and safety concerns. That issue was addressed with a case study of one state, Indiana, which has been proactive in its approach to school safety and appropriately serves as a model for other states.
Many states are passing legislation and forming commissions and task forces to address the needs of their states and communities. Unfortunately, many states are merely throwing money at what they perceive to be the problems, sometimes without careful thought or research into the solutions they prescribe. Policy makers are urged to consult with those organizations representing educators, parents, public safety, law enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, industry, and nonprofits that remain at the forefront of protecting safe and secure schools.
This journey began a year ago, in 2017. So far in 2018, the United States has had more of its citizens die in school shootings than in its entire military. The time for action is now.
Robert Boyd, Executive Director, Secure Schools Alliance
Robert Boyd is the executive director of Secure Schools Alliance, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to security and safety as a key part of a successful education. He was formerly an executive at several education nonprofits, including Donorschoose.org, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the Community Education Building in Delaware, where he led the $26 million conversion of an 11-story office building into a state-of-the-art campus for charter schools. It has been heralded as the safest building in Wilmington as well as one of the safest schools in the nation. In addition to his role as chief of staff to a senior congressman, he also previously worked in the New York City Mayor’s Office and was public safety chairman for University Park, Texas. He holds degrees from Brown, Harvard, and Southern Methodist universities and can be reached at email@example.com.