The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) released school safety guides in recent weeks. The intended audience for both guides is K-12 schools and administration; however, these guides can assist any stakeholder for whom school violence falls within their job duties, including higher education, pre-K and first responders.
The DHS's K-12 School Security: A Guide for Preventing and Protecting against Gun Violence consists of two parts: a PDF document with general security best practices and considerations, and a Microsoft Excel-based security survey schools can use to evaluate physical security.
Together, these resources outline action-oriented security practices and options for consideration based on the results of the individual school’s responses to the survey. For more information and assistance, please contact the Office of Academic Engagement at AcademicEngagement@hq.dhs.gov.
The USSS’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) released Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model: An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence PDF 1.4 MB to provide fundamental direction on how to prevent incidents of targeted school violence.
The NTAC also released a brief of the guide PDF 75 KB that outlines key considerations and steps to creating a targeted violence prevention plan. The NTAC will be distributing copies of these to schools nationwide.
Finally, research associates from the Institute for Intergovernmental Research will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, August 14, from 2-3 p.m. Eastern on the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative and the importance of recognizing and reporting SAR to prevent violence at educational facilities. The free webinar will cover indicators of suspicious activity, reporting, law enforcement procedures following the report, and privacy and civil rights protections. Registration is required.
We cannot stress enough that even though these resources are intended primarily for schools, responding agencies can also use them as resources when developing school violence response plans, in interagency training and exercises, and as an opportunity to initiate dialog and partnerships with local schools if this has not already occurred.