Let's Talk about School Safety

Introduction

Creating and maintaining a positive school climate combined with a sustained school crisis planning process are the keys to ensuring Vermont’s schools continue to be a safe environment where our children can learn and grow. We must continue to leverage existing resources within our schools and foster positive working relationships with our local emergency responders and other internal and external stakeholders to ensure we are prepared to respond to any emergency that may impact our children and our communities.

While much attention has been directed at the most recent violent acts that have taken place in schools across America, we must continually remind ourselves that an all hazards approach to crisis response planning is where we should be concentrating our efforts. Emergency medical issues, bomb threats, child custody issues, school bus accidents, and fights in schools are more likely to be experienced than targeted acts of violence like an active shooter. Maintaining an all hazards crisis response plan, communicating with local emergency first responders, implementing well thought out school safety initiatives, and facilitating a school climate that is welcoming and accepting of all students will serve us all well in our collective desire to keeping our children safe in our schools.

Resources

Photo of Doug Davis

It is imperative that students want to participate in our programs and that parents feel comfortable allowing their children to do so

Doug Davis is the Director of Food Service for the Burlington School Food Project.

Photo of Kathleen Bassett Cramer

School Counselors are being called upon to meet the social/emotional goals of their curriculum due to a constantly changing world

Kathleen Bassett Cramer is the School Counselor for Alburgh Community Education Center and the current President of the Vermont School Counselors Association (VTSCA).

Photo of Adam Bunting

I believe that joy, humor, and fun are the signs of a creative and dynamic learning environment

Adam Bunting is the Principal at Montpelier High School.

Photo of Mark Moody

Our schools hold our most precious commodity, our children… Safety is everyone's responsibility

Mark Moody owns Secure Your Building Consulting LLC, and currently works with the Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust conducting safety/security audits for Vermont schools.

Photo of Tracey Tsugawa

Feeling safe is a basic right – like the right to food, shelter, and clothing – and is a vital part of a healthy, nurturing school environment

Tracey Tsugawa is a civil rights investigator for the Human Rights Commission and is the Chair of the Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying Prevention Advisory Council.

Photo of Ken Page

Kids know the go-to adults in their school, the ones who always can have time to listen, no matter how busy they are. (Is this you?)

Ken Page is the Executive Director of the Vermont Principals' Association (VPA).

Photo of Julie Regimbal

Parents can support their children in developing empathy and good problem solving strategies

Julie Regimbal is the Interim Superintendent and Director of Special Education for the Franklin Central Supervisory Union and a member of the Vermont Council of Special Education Administrators executive board

Photo of Rick Dustin-Eichler

Creating a school climate that is inclusive and supportive of all students, families, and staff members is key

Rick Dustin-Eichler is the Dothan Brook School Principal.

Photo of Sherry Dumont

The students were scared, but they remembered what they had learned from the past drills

Sherry Dumont, Special Educator at Missisquoi Valley Union Middle/High School (MVU)

Photo of Jamie Evans

Students need to feel safe in order to help them feel comfortable and ready to learn

Jamie Evans is the Facilities Director and electrician for Spaulding High School

Liz Parris

Being prepared for any given situation, at any time, can mean the difference between calmness and chaos

Liz Parris, RN BSN and the Health Office Coordinator / School Nurse for the Winooski School District

Keith Flynn

In Vermont, School safety is everyone’s business

Keith Flynn, Commissioner of Public Safety

Rob Evans

Response planning is our best approach to keeping our kids safe

Rob Evans, Public Safety Officer

Sharonlee Trefry

Feeling safe depends on feeling connected to someone who cares about students as individuals

Sharonlee Trefry, State School Nurse Consultant for the Vermont Department of Health.

Morgan MacIver

Look out for each other and offer support if someone needs it

Morgan MacIver, junior at Twinfield Union School & student representative on the Vermont State Board of Education.

Steve Early

Effective school emergency operation plans need our combined experiences

Stephen Earley, Chair of the VT School Crisis Planning Team

Bill LaWare

Good communication is imperative in creating a safe school culture and climate

Bill LaWare, Chittenden Central Supervisory Union (CCSU) Director of Safety & Security

Craig Divis

Every teacher has the power to create the type of environment that we want for our students

Craig Divis, Social Studies teacher and Department Chair at Bellows Falls Union High School

Brian Ricca

These incidents prompted me to look for opportunities to be involved at a greater level in school safety in Vermont

Dr. Brian Ricca, Montpelier Public Schools Superintendent.

Christian Terry

One thing each of us, as students, can do is “dress for success.”

Christian Terry, sophomore at Bellows Falls Union High School.

Questions?

Rob Evans, Public Safety Officer, at revans@margolishealy.com or (802) 839-0448

Page Last Updated on June 30, 2014