Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

April 15, 2014

'School safety is more than an active shooter'

OSGOOD – A stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school that injured 22 is one of the most recent examples of school violence.

Officials are constantly doing what they can to create a safe environment for the children.

On April 3, school administrators, staff and resource officers, as well as other law enforcement members, gathered at Jac-Cen-Del High School for a threat assessment training presented by Dr. Rich Hogue, Indiana State Police school safety liaison.

“School safety coordinators have to have district-wide authority and must be able to mobilize all the resources. You also have to name someone as second in command,” in the event of the leader’s absence, said the speaker, who has served more than 30 years as an educator.

For those corporations that have a parent notification system, he stressed the importance of only using it for emergencies or to tell them about items like school delays or early dismissals. Some notify parents about open houses, programs and other events, and that is “absolutely the wrong thing to do. If you have a critical issue and have to get the word out, that system is useless because parents won’t even look at the messages anymore.

“School safety is more than an active shooter .... In my last 26 years in education, I had four situations where we had issues with staff members .... You need to train people how to hire correctly and check references.”

Regarding substitute teachers, “they usually don’t have the training, are not your top-notch educators and don’t know the school safety plan. When you interview your substitutes, put them through the same hiring requirements as you do the staff. Volunteers are another thing. We don’t put them under the same scrutiny as we do other employees.

“Almost 95 percent of school districts don’t have handbooks that are segregated by job description .... and they don’t include a clear and definitive description of school safety,” Hogue revealed.

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