AFSA Partners with Department of Education for School Safety Webinar

On August 7, The American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) took steps toward improving school safety across the nation partnering with the Department of Education (DOE) to provide a webinar for both AFSA members and the general public on how to develop accessible solutions through high quality Emergency Operations Plans.

Presented by the DOE’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students, the 90-minute webinar provided an overview of the recently released Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans, emphasizing the importance of school culture and climate.

“School administrators across the nation opened their school doors immediately following the Sandy Hook shooting, and continue to do so every day. Yet, too many districts do not have comprehensive plans in place to deal with such emergency situations,” said Diann Woodard, president of the American Federation of School Administrators in her opening remarks.  “We thank the Department of Education for recognizing this urgent need and for working so diligently to update its trainings, so that the principals in charge of keeping children safe are informed with the necessary emergency practices at the national, state and local levels.”

This webinar represents a step in the right direction not only for providing our educators with the tools they need to fully prepare for an emergency, but for meaningful and effective change in school safety policy.

Below is an overview of the webinar’s recommendations. To access the full presentation, please click here.

  • When developing a school safety plan, consider all threats and hazards before, during, and after an incident.
  • Don't forget to assess the climate and culture of your school when developing a safety plan; each school has different needs.
  • School climate is directly related to meeting key goals, including reducing bullying. 
  • Organize a planning team large enough to bring perspective to potential issues and threats, but not so large nothing gets accomplished.
  • After selecting a course of action for each threat, identify resources needed to carry out each course of action.
  • Always make sure to practice your school safety plans! Turn it from a reaction to a response!
  • Make sure to review, revise, and maintain the school safety plans. Never stop looking for ways to improve!
  • Make sure to outline how students will be reunited with their families or guardians after an incident.
  • During planning process it is important for schools to work with the community including emergency management staff, first responders and public and mental health officials.
  • Make sure first responders have your school safety plan.

This webinar represents a step in the right direction not only for providing our educators with the tools they need to fully prepare for an emergency, but for meaningful and effective change in school safety policy.