Back in 2009, the School Safety Committee (a multi-agency group of committed volunteers whose interest is to help Wyoming schools be safe and healthy places to learn) made the following recommendations and had them sent to each district. Now, four years later, feel free to take an inventory and see where you stand on this list.
A. Building Recommendations
- Video surveillance should be provided at remote entrances and student areas.
- Natural surveillance abilities should exist with the school grounds, landscaping, front entry doors, parking lot, and bus stop.
- Main entrance security should utilize artificial barriers (including pylons or other structural reinforcement as required) or natural barriers (landscaping hills, berms, rocks, etc.) when appropriate.
- All front windows and glass doors can be equipped with four-mil or greater blast resistant film on the inside.
B. Operation Recommendations
- The Fire Marshal recommends the newest technology for fire alarm systems for schools.
- Fire alarms should be used exclusively for the purpose of alerting personnel in a fire drill or actual fire. Other types of emergencies ideally should have voice messaging only. [Note -- On those months where a safety drill is conducted instead of a fire drill (see W.S. 35-9-505) the fire alarm could be tested when students are not in school).
- All large schools should operate a "school within a school," i.e., a self-contained grade or group within a larger school that gives the effect of a smaller institution.
- Telephone and two-way intercom capability should exist within each classroom.
- To improve school climate, schools should include strategies that utilize student-based programs. Examples may include student mentors, a quality buddy system, Teen School Emergency Response Team (SERT), Safe School Ambassadors, etc.
- Teachers should strive to build positive relationships with parents and students during the school year.
- All chemistry labs should follow the School Facilities Hazardous Materials Safety Guidelines distributed by the Wyoming Department of Education. [W.S. 21-2-202 (a)(xxii)]
- All playground equipment should follow the 2008 federal safety guidelines. [Public Playground Safety Handbook, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Publication #325] (Note: The most recent CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook is now the November 2010 edition. It can be found here.)
- Where possible, schools should maintain only a single point of entry.
- All entrances and parking lots should be well lighted.
- Official ID should be carried by all staff. Visitor sign-in is expected. (This includes repair personnel and vendor verification.)
- All staff/students need to be trained to report unusual behavior to someone in authority – it's okay to question individuals not seen before.
- The school's crisis management plan and effective partnering with emergency services should both be topics included in staff training.
- Districts are encouraged to coordinate emergency plans with their respective County Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) as appropriate.
- Schools and districts should form and regularly test their crisis
management plans. Annual events should include a school tabletop exercise, a multi-emergency agency practice drill, and a
school safety audit.
- Random searches of school lockers for illicit drugs and other contraband should be conducted on a regular basis -- consistent with current Wyoming law.
- Radio signal boosters should exist at every exit sign to support first responder transmissions.
- Administrators should have a properly stocked and supplied emergency "go bag" in a suitable location.
- Districts must ensure that policies regarding harassment, intimidation, and bullying are consistent with W.S. 21-4-311 to 21-4-315. A culture of student camaraderie and accountability must be promoted.
C. Life-Safety Recommendations
- Schools should document all injuries requiring medical treatment, and all clusters of illnesses should be reported.
- An emergency first-aid kit and spill kit should be quickly and easily accessible in each classroom. Training should be available.
- Choking relief posters should exist in each cafeteria.
- Instructors should have the ability to call emergency services directly.
- Teacher action items for anticipated disasters should be easily accessible at the door of each classroom.
- Students should be instructed and prepared to handle anticipated problems and emergencies.