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Put School Safety First

(Hartford, CT) School security has always been important, but the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown thrust the issue into the spotlight, prompting school districts throughout the country to reexamine their policies and procedures.

Educators and law enforcement and government officials have been working together to make sure the safest learning environments are provided for all children, but we can’t be complacent. School districts need to remain vigilant and continue to scrutinize practices, train staff, and strengthen relationships with public safety officials.

If a man under the influence of drugs entered a high school hallway near classrooms and the cafeteria, what would you do? Would you know to isolate that person immediately before he entered space occupied by students? Would you know to simultaneously notify security so the police could be called and the person could be escorted off school property?

In Connecticut, Public Act 13-3 can be referenced for a comprehensive list of state requirements regarding school security.

CREC can also help.

CREC’s Director of Public Safety, Chris Nolan, is a retired state police lieutenant and brings real-world law enforcement experience to his job at CREC. He’s a valuable resource—one that you can use.

With Nolan’s extensive background in crisis management, CREC is able to offer several security services, including staff training and workshops on security technology. Security audits are available, and CREC can help you develop emergency and crisis management plans.

As you consider your school’s emergency preparedness procedures, Nolan shares the following tips:Be sure to regularly talk to your local first responders about school safety plans. The more you communicate; the better off you will be in an emergency. Make sure your school staff members receive an overview of the National Incident Management System and Incident Command System at the beginning of each school year and understand its value. Knowledge is power!Review and update school safety and security plans regularly. Don’t forget to submit them to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Assessing security and vulnerability for each school is an important part of being prepared. Connecticut state law requires schools to conduct assessments in these areas every two years. Take these assessments seriously.

For more information about CREC’s security services, visit www.crec.org/safety.


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