K-12 Safest Schools: for Superintendents & Administrators: Part 3 of 10 – Why Efficient Training & Tracking of Safety Issues is Fundamental

School safety stakeholders need access to data and insights to identify safety issues and make the right decisions quickly. Training stakeholders to handle that process and giving them the tools they need is key to keeping schools safe. Done right, efficient training and tracking of safety issues allow for accountability, escalation, delegation, collaboration, reporting, resolution, review and improvement of all school safety processes.

In an Educator’s School Safety Network report on violent threats and incidents in the 2018-2019 school year, the researchers recommend looking at school safety as an every day, all-hazards operation for stakeholders. It should include planning for, preventing, and responding to violent threats and incidents. They note that training often focuses only on school shootings. However, that is the least likely crisis event. Accidents, medical emergencies, and severe weather events should also be tracked. ESSN is clear that preventing violence, not just responding to it, must become a priority. That can be done with good management processes and practices.

ESSN is also clear that appropriate training, resources, and support are required to prevent, assess and respond to threats. They recognize that determining the validity of threats and responding to each one appropriately and effectively can be a challenge. This is especially so without training. We agree entirely — efficient training for stakeholders and efficient tracking of safety issues are fundamental.

Why Quick Identification Matters

Identifying threats is critical, as is understanding that “a threat is only a concept; the word ‘threat’ does not imply that [a] problematic event has actually occurred. (Susan Lincke, Security Planning: An Applied Approach)” In a Johns Hopkins report on school safety technology from 2016, the researchers agree that an all-hazards approach is key. That means considering the full scope of emergencies when planning for response and mitigation. To do this, stakeholders need to be trained in what constitutes a threat and how to manage it.

To understand what constitutes a threat — because many will second-guess how threatening something could be — one-click or few-click access to get answers to safety questions can be very helpful. Software like SafestSchools includes a knowledgebase so users can easily find frequently asked questions and scenarios. 

It’s also wise to train stakeholders in identifying excellent safety examples to celebrate good behavior. These are not incident reports in the same way a threat would be, but are well worth tracking and following. The people involved in showing exemplary safety behavior may be able to champion school safety for other stakeholders. This is a proactive approach that could pay off.

Quickly identifying, reporting, and managing school safety issues can act as a deterrent. Would-be bad actors will know that the school has a strong safety culture with stakeholders empowered to report threats and administrators appropriately managing those reports collaboratively. 

The right school safety software will enable a good understanding of what a threat is and how to respond, no matter who the stakeholder is or what they encounter. That investment creates a safer environment for staff, educators, students, and community members.

Simplifying the Process

The more streamlined the safety incident reporting process, the more likely people will use it. With software like SafestSchools, administrators can set up specific procedures based on school or district goals and gather the relevant data. They can also filter the data in various ways, including by type of incident, simplifying reporting, and trend tracking. A central dashboard allows administrators to look at all incidents, their status, specific students, and other vital focuses. 

Stakeholders like students, families, and community members may not be directly involved in filling in an incident report, but they will still see benefits if the process is simple and efficient. They will be kept apprised of concerns and enlisted in finding proactive solutions. They will be able to maintain communication with school-based stakeholders.

All of this ensures accountability. Administrators set goals and monitor data, with staff involved in the process. And collaboration happens with stakeholders like students and families. A central dashboard also ensures that people notice anything requiring escalation and send it where it needs to go. This helps with the resolution, review, and improvement of safety issues and processes. 

GroupLink’s platforms, including GroupLink for SafestSchools, GroupLink Workflow Process & Incident Tracking and GroupLink everything HelpDesk help stakeholders increase student safety and operational efficiency, collaboration, and accountability, while significantly reducing liability and risk associated with safety issues. Connect with us online or call us at 801-335-0700. You can also email us at info@grouplink.net to learn more.

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