The National Sheriffs’ Association recognizes that all communities have different needs in securing their schools.
National School Safety Resources (NSSR) is a new initiative centered around promoting and accelerating multidisciplinary efforts to build, maintain, and manage schools that are safe from violence; in particular from law enforcement perspective with a focus on active shooter and other mass casualty hostile events. It will endeavor to support all communities in creating school environments that minimize the potential threats and maximize the potential survivability, while providing insight to public safety and recognizing that the first responsibility of a school is to educate.
An Obligation to Ensure Our Schools are Zones of Safety
Concerned about the increasing incidence of school violence, the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) has moved to address the myriad of challenges surrounding this serious issue. Assuredly, everyone has a real and moral obligation to ensure our schools are zones of safety. While school violence is a valid national concern, it has an immediate effect most felt in local jurisdictions.
While jurisdictions could build a “Fort Knox” facility for each school, that would still not resolve school violence. The approach must be layered and shaped for each community. Many challenges face us in this endeavor such as: school structure; preparedness; legal and privacy concerns; training; measurement and metrics; collaboration with all aspects within the community and available resources. Additionally, as communities we need to look strenuously at legislation which hinders our children’s safety or could enhance it. Further, no cohesive repository of numerous resources has been fully identified and made available to communities.
Creating a Structure for True Analysis of the Entanglement of School Violence Issues
NSA is striving to convene a workgroup to begin to put together a structure for true analysis of the entanglement of school violence issues. This group would look at practices addressing school violence and make them available to communities of differing size and shape. We know state and local legislative bodies have made strides in dealing with the issue. We also know the health and mental health fields have solutions and are vital partners.
There is no question except we take action forthwith! We must find and promote evidenced-based practices to mitigate this crisis. Information must be shared among the law enforcement, intelligence and health communities, particularly mandatory reporting of all threats. There will be some tasks which are non-negotiable, requiring massive cooperation and sharing of information, practices and policies.