District Administration October 2017 - 47

velop a decision-making mentality about
what to do in a crisis. Red Land, part of
the West Shore School District, implemented the "Run. Hide. Fight." plan,
which instructs students to critically assess
a scenario and then decide whether it's safest to run from the building, hide in a barricaded area or fight the intruder.
Because the first choice is to flee, during the drill many students left the building and met at outdoor rally points where
they would be reunited with parents and
where local mental health providers could
offer immediate counseling. Since it was
raining that day, the students found some
uphill meeting spots were slippery and
needed to be changed for the next time.
The second alternative is hiding. Several classrooms lack direct access to outside, so students and teachers hid, barricading the doors and ducking. The last
resort-fighting an intruder-was practiced by students in the cafeteria.
Throughout the process, students
discovered that communicating by mass
text would be effective. They also determined which students and teachers would
lead entire classrooms in the "Run. Hide.
Fight." scenario.
"The whole situation gives administrators a great opportunity to remind the
kids that this is their school and they're at
the grassroots," Sayre says. "They're probably going to hear about something before
we do, and we need to create a culture
where the kids know they can tell us about
safety concerns."
Empowering students and staff
Tabletop exercises and classroom sessions
build the critical thinking skills of staff
and students without exposing them to
the potential trauma of an active-shooter
drill. At Red Clay Consolidated School
District in Delaware, students and teachers at the 26 schools discuss how to apply
"Run. Hide. Fight." concepts.
Elementary school teachers, for example, marshal children outside the school.
High school students decide where they
might barricade themselves and identify
safe places to reassemble.
www.DistrictAdministration.com

AGE CONSIDERATIONS-Staff and emergency responders search a hallway
during an active shooter drill at Sunset Elementary School in Washington. High
school and college students posed as victims because administrators feared
younger children could be traumatized by the experience.

"We do our best to avoid the shock
factor and not make the exercise seem like
anything beyond what it is-preparing for
another emergency," says Brian Moore,
director of public safety for the district.
Moore is a member of the Association of
School Business Officials International,
which offers annual safety classes and best
practices for drills of all types. The organization recommends that districts conduct
tabletop discussions that lead to annual
lockdown drills. Administrators must also
maintain close relationships with police,
firefighters and other professionals who
will respond to an emergency.
"Always keep the kids in mind and
how they're going to react-don't let them
be surprised," Moore says. "We have frank
conversations about the fact that bad
things happen, but our job is to make sure
they're safe."
Administrators wary of drills frightening students should consider that these activities can also help a school community
feel safer, adds Paul Timm of RETA Security, which provides school safety services
and training for groups such as ASBO.
"I've seen drills empower people," he
says. "They get closer to the real situa-

tion when they walk through it, and they
develop the confidence, motor skills and
decision-making that could make a difference during an incident."
Better relationships make us safer
Al Gille, the safety and security coordinator of Great Oaks Career Campuses in
Cincinnati, oversees safety at four major
facilities with 34 feeder high schools. His
crisis plan starts with a focus on bullying-stopping that behavior is the surest
way to prevent threats and violence, he
says. To that end, Great Oaks teachers
learn to respond quickly if they spot the
emotional or physical signs that a student
is being bullied. Educators also coach students-who can report safety concerns
anonymously-to recognize when a classmate is abusing drugs or alcohol.
"In reality, our biggest fears probably
won't happen, but this training also works
for fights in schools, which I will definitely see this year," Gille says. "The only
way I know to prevent a school shooting
starts with building relationships with
students." DA
Carolyn Crist is a writer in Athens, Georgia.
October 2017 47


http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration October 2017

District Administration October 2017 - Cover1
District Administration October 2017 - Cover2
District Administration October 2017 - 1
District Administration October 2017 - 2
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