Module 3: School Security Policies

90% of schools have written policies and procedures today. I will detail a baseline of school security policies in this module.

Every school should have for its students, teachers and administrators, guidelines to identify and handle violence at their facility. These should delineate what is considered to be unacceptable or threatening behavior.

It should be mandatory that students, staff and administrators have read and understand the school policies and procedures.

The purpose of knowing these policies is to have understood and clear guidelines to identify and handle potential violence. This may seem obvious, but in reality there are so many arbitraries to each situation, that when a policy has been well thought out and examined in advance, that reference point should provide distinct clarification. A policy will help dictate what is acceptable or threatening behavior.

Because this program has a sequential order, it has the proper flow line. It started with an overview that summarized what the program is. There is a purpose as to why the entire program is put together. There is known value in how you can benefit from this program.

I am now speaking about the baseline rules, which are guidelines, a means of expected conduct; what’s proper, what’s alarming, what’s over the top and needs to be responded to. If you don’t have it in writing you don’t having anything true about what the rules, conduct, guidelines and policies are for the school.

When the rules laid out here are violated, the threat management team will be the entity to oversee and be responsible for these. The threat management team will be the group responsible for investigating when those rules have been violated. Later in the course we will go into detail on Procedures of Reporting and Investigating, based on the violation of our baseline, our policies. For now, we will just be establishing basic policies.

These school security policies are the building blocks for understanding and agreement on action. If it isn’t written and made policy, coordinating efforts will be next to impossible.

Here are examples of some basic security policies to implement:

  1. No weapons are allowed in school, on school grounds or within the safe school zone. This includes firearms, knives, explosives or anything that might qualify as a weapon (with the exception of a trained, licensed School Resource Officer, who has authorization to carry a weapon on school property.)
  2. Students with firearms in school, on school grounds, or within the safe zone will be immediately expelled and a report filed with law enforcement.

The law that is being enforced here is that a school has the right to expel a student from school for a year; for carrying a firearm while in school or on school grounds.

  1. It is the responsibility of each teacher and administrator to be familiar with the school’s policies, early warning signs, Emergency Action plan, and lockdown procedures.

This will enable teachers and administrators to more readily recognize serious red flags early, and be prepared for immediate response.

  1. Any and all acts of aggression that create a disruptive or threatening environment with the school, must be reported immediately to a teacher or the threat management team.

If an act of aggression has occurred in a school, it must be reported. Remember school policies are in place to ensure that proper conduct is adhered to and students and teachers are safe.

  1. Violence or threats of violence in any form is unacceptable behavior in school. It will not be tolerated and will immediately and appropriately be addressed.

This initial step is crucial to the overall success of any security awareness from a proactive point of view. Although there is no set pattern of a particular situation, there have to be guidelines that are agreed upon to establish appropriate conduct and actions in a school.

  1. Bullying, whether it is verbal or physical will not be tolerated and must be reported.

It was found that when perpetrators were interviewed after a shooting incident, many were found to have a high level of animosity about having been bullied. This has been found to be a contributing factor of targeted violence.

  1. Any serious threat of violence or actual physical attack will be responded to by the threat management team immediately and a 911 call to law enforcement.

Although law enforcement should be contacted when a shooting incident occurs, threat management must be trained and prepared to be first responders when immediate action is necessary.

  1. School Resource Officer must respond to a violent attack or active shooter and call 911 when safe to do so.

The school resource officer is part of the threat management team. Therefore, these policies apply to him as he is an immediate response individual.

  1. All complaints and reports of aggression, concerning or threatening behavior will be investigated and assessed immediately by threat management team.

Once these reports have been submitted they are to be responded to and resolved immediately. You either assess the threat is harmless or you’ve done something to assess the threat is credible and the individual poses a serious threat. Then you put security measures in place and then you address it. It is not just responded to with no resolution to it.

  1. The threat management team must be responsible for initiating an immediate resolution to any and all complaints and reports of a serious nature and inform teachers and administrators.
  2. Confidentiality of complaints and reports will be maintained to the highest extent possible, with the exception of law enforcement interaction.
  3. No information shall be disclosed to another student by the threat management team regarding an ongoing investigation prior to its completion.
  4. (This policy will enable threat management to investigate and defuse an action by a student that does not pose a serious threat to another). This would include submissions of false reports.
  5. No act of retaliation will be tolerated. Any verbal threats of potential violent acts against a student, teacher, or administrator will be investigated and addressed. In addition to this, a report may be submitted to local law enforcement.
  6. No student, teacher, or administrator shall deliberately place themselves or another in a situation where they are at risk for violence.

It is the responsibility of each member of the threat management team to follow and ensure adherence by others of these policies. If it is not enforced, then that threat management member should be dismissed and another selected. This is a very high responsibility position and the school cannot afford complacency. It takes a dedicated team to accomplish the task at hand.

Now that you’ve watched this module, please download your course checklist and spend the time necessary to work out your policies thoroughly. Go over many examples of each possible violation to gain a good working understanding of each policy and the importance of having them. Then you will see What necessary action will be based on each one.

Go over as many examples as needed regarding how each of you will respond.

These building blocks will allow fast and expert management of a potential threat to be handled, as time is of the essence when there is a threat. Being prepared is a key element in saving lives.

I will see you in the next module.