State-Level Strategies for School Safety and Crisis Preparedness
During a press conference in response to one of the 1998 school
shootings which attracted national attention, one elected official indicated
that there is "nothing the state can do" to prevent or prepare for such
tragedies. At National School Safety and Security Services,
we strongly disagree with such statements. State officials can and
should take a leadership role in providing support to local school districts
for improving their school security and crisis preparedness measures.
In fact, Ken Trump, our president, has actively supported state leaders
in examining strategies for improving school safety. In 1998, he was
selected to brief Indiana's Education Roundtable, co-chaired by Governor Frank
O'Bannon and State Superintendent, Dr. Suellen Reed, on recommendations
for state action on school safety. In addition to the many positive
strategies already initiated by the Indiana Department of Education, in
1999 the Indiana Legislature passed a multi-faceted strategy which included expansion of
Indiana's safe haven program, creation of a state-certified training
academy for school safety
specialists from each Indiana school corporation, funding for resources for school security support, and
creating county-level leadership councils on school safety.
Ken was also asked to present to school safety recommendations
to state officials attending the National Governors' Association and
Institute of Justice Policy Forum on Juvenile Offenders in Michigan in May
of 1999. Other public officials have also contacted our office for professional
advice on how state leaders can help school districts improve school safety.
Our recommendations include, but are not limited to:
training programs for educators and school support staff on school security
and crisis preparedness issues, as well as programs specifically geared to
board members, superintendents, principals, elected community officials,
and others directly impacting school and community policy-making and leadership.
and fund a state-level school safety center to serve as a resource on school
safety, security, crisis preparedness, and related issues.
school crime reporting requirements and related data collection.
enhanced penalties for crimes committed in schools , on school grounds, and
against school officials.
school districts to create, maintain, and update school crisis preparedness
guidelines and security plans.
security-specific, grant-funded programs for security and crisis support
materials such as school security equipment, development of crisis preparedness
prevention, intervention, and alternative programs for at-risk and delinquent
These recommendations and others presented to state leaders are based on
our experience in working with school, law enforcement, and youth-service
providers in over 35 states and in Canada. School security and
crisis preparedness needs continue to evolve, however, especially in light
of recent national terrorism issues. See our page on
the impact of terrorism on school
security and crisis preparedness planning for our latest observations
We believe that our state leaders can provide
school officials the tools and resources to make their schools more safe,
secure, and prepared to prevent, and if necessary to manage, school crisis
For questions or additional information, contact Ken Trump directly at