Sandy Hook commission releases school safety recommendations
26 victims gunned down at elementary school in December tragedy
Although the report submitted last week to Connecticut governor Daniel Malloy was an interim one and is a Connecticut document, “I imagine all schools of any stripe nationwide will look at compliance to these recommendations for all K-12 schools,” said Mitchell.
The commission is a 16-member panel of experts created by Malloy in the wake of the deadly Sandy Hook school shooting to review current policy and make specific recommendations in the areas of public safety, with particular attention paid to school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention.
Mitchell summarized the commission’s recommendations as follows:
1. Ensure the installation of locking doors that can be locked from the inside by the classroom teacher or substitute.
2. Require exterior doors be equipped with hardware capable of implementing a full perimeter lockdown.
3. Develop common threat and risk assessment security recommendations
4. Develop an Emergency Response Plan (ERP).
5. Develop a Safe Schools Plan (SSP)
6. Establish a Safe Schools Planning Committee charged with oversight of safety and compliance
7. Require ERPs be submitted to state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security by institutes of higher learning for review and approval.
8. Assign a full-time emergency planner at DEMHS to review submissions as well as assist schools and school districts with the preparation of emergency plans.
9. Require schools provide local police, fire, and emergency response personnel with up-to-date copies of building floor plans, blueprints, schematics of school interiors, grounds, road maps of the surrounding area, evacuation routes, alternative evacuation routes, shelter site, procedures for addressing medical needs, transportation, and emergency notification to parents.
10. Require school evaluate cell phone coverage while reinforcing school policies on cell phone usage.
11. Encourage the deployment of enhanced WiFi and the usage of IP-enabled cameras (to support response capacity), with special attention to perimeter security and areas of assembly
12. Develop a security training course specifically for school staff, as well as requiring NIMS and ICS training.
13. Develop a trusted access program (TAP) for visitor management
14. Require background screening for all school staff
15. Develop a best practices guide for bullying and threat assessment