Former Secret Service agents recently did a safety analysis of Northwestern Local School District, including active shooter training for teachers and staff.
Jason Russell, president of Security Education Consultants, said the safety review began with a surprise visit in the spring.
“We did a complete 360-degree site assessments,” Russell said.
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That included evaluating the district’s buildings, emergency plans, and policies and procedures, Northwestern Superintendent Jesse Steiner said.
“Our staff never knew they were here,” he said of the spring assessment.
The district didn’t have classes for students Friday and instead held two, three-hour training sessions for teachers and staff members. The sessions went over policies and procedures the school currently has, as well as what they should do in the future.
Russell found the Northwestern schools were safe and secure but needed to make some small changes. For example, what they do at one school, they also need to do at the other building.
“They had a lot of good things in place in terms of physical security and in terms of policies,” he said. “But we wanted to make sure that they really had the level so that they would actually know how to respond.”
That’s usually where schools fail, Russell said — they don’t train and practice the procedures put into place.
“Schools have to open themselves up to that they need help with these situations,” Russell said.
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Northwestern’s faculty and staff members were responsive and creative during the training, Russell said. He complimented them on how they used the school’s security cameras and public announcement system to let the school know there was an active shooter in the building. They’re ready if the something ever happens, he said.
The district’s training wasn’t in response to the school shooting at West Liberty Salem High School earlier this year, Steiner said. You can never put a price on safety, he said, and he wants to make sure his schools and everyone in them are safe.
“Ninety percent of the people that comes to our facilities, we know who they are. We know their kids and why they are there,” Steiner said. “But it’s that 10 percent that we need to look out for.”
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