The Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) has updated its Schools Emergency Plan and drills based on input from the Division of Fire Safety and the Vermont School Safety Center. We used our in-service afternoon to review and discuss the Village School’s security and safety plans. A change that impacts our older students, specifically fifth and sixth grades, is Vermont’s Act 29. This requires older students to move away from the traditional “lockdown,” or shelter in place, approach to a violent intruder.
The VT AOE wrote in its memo: “In reviewing the different response methods and researching the data related to past violent intruder incidents, we have learned that no one-size response plan fits each violent intruder incident and that teachers, administrators, and students need to have an options-based response approach that is available to them, based on the specific set of circumstances they are dealing with at the time of the incident.” When we talk to our fifth and sixth graders about potential crisis situations, we will have age-appropriate and trauma-informed discussions based on guidance from Best Practice Considerations for Armed Assailant Drills in Schools (produced by the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Resource Officers).
At this time the “Run, Hide, Fight” recommendations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security does NOT replace current safety protocols for evacuation, sheltering in place, or other emergency response procedures; however, having discussed this concept with faculty and staff gives us additional tools that may be used in response to a violent intruder.
Whenever we talk with our students about preparedness, we always underscore that schools are statistically still one of the very safest places. Yet, doing our utmost to ensure your children’s safety and wellbeing is our first and foremost responsibility, and we are committed to understanding and implementing all best security and emergency practices.
During the December break, our school’s security cameras were replaced with a new system that is now monitoring all entryways at our school and will soon be covering the the outside perimeter of the school as well.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-442-5955 (ext. 201).
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