School response protocol covered at special training session

Published 1:24 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

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Columbia Early College High School played host to a Standard Response Protocol National Safety Training session on Monday, July 24.

Sponsored by Tyrrell County Schools at the request of Superintendent Dr. Karen Roseboro, more than three dozen law enforcement and school officials from Tyrrell, Washington, Camden, Perquimans, Hertford and Bertie counties gathered for the four hour school safety training event.

“We need to be on the same page for school safety,” explained Dr. Roseboro. “Communication is a key part of any program. I lost two students to active shooting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. One to the penitentiary system, and one lost his life as a result of a school shooting.”

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Roseboro went on to say that after she became superintendent in October she realized during some fire and evacuation drills that there were some discrepancies in expectations related to how school personnel and emergency management personnel responded.

A North Carolina Department of Public Instruction grant for school safety provided an opportunity for Roseboro to contract with the I Love U Guys Foundation.

The I Love U Guys Foundation was started in 2006 by Ellen and John-Michael Keyes following a school shooting incident at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado that took the life of their daughter Emily. One of her text messages to her parents was “I love you guys.”

Initially, foundation materials were available at no charge to schools, and school related districts, departments, agencies or organizations. When it was determined that suggested donations were an occasional roadblock for implementation in the private sector, in 2015 the foundation board approved expanding the no cost provision and now provide materials free to any organization.

“That grant enabled us to partner with I Love U Guys,” continued Roseboro. “And to partner and collaborate with our neighboring districts surrounding us along with law enforcement and any other and any other emergency management agencies that might be interested in learning more about the Standard Protocol.”

As the number of school shooting incidents seem to increase, many local agencies across the country developed response protocols. In some cases, lengthy and complicated protocols.

Based on the Sandy Hook school shooting incident, the I Love U Guys Foundation’s Standard Response Protocol provides consistent, clear, shared language and actions for all students, staff and first responders.

The training session was led by foundation representative Donna Dougherty, a retired educator who used the foundation’s material for several years as a classroom teacher, administrator and school safety director.

“The Standard Response Protocol is an all-hazards response based on five actions,” explained Dougherty. “There are no cookie cutter solutions. The SRP is action-based, flexible, and easy to learn approach that provides a uniform, planned, and practiced response to any incident. It rationally organizes tactics for response to weather events, fires, accidents, intruders and other threats to personal safety.”

Each action is always followed by a directive, and each step is always announced twice.

● Hold is the protocol used when hallways need to be kept clear of occupants and is followed by the directive: “In Your Room or Area.”
● Secure is the protocol used to safeguard people within the building. That directive is: “Get Inside. Lock Outside Doors.”
● Lockdown is the protocol used to secure individual rooms and keep occupants quiet and in place. That is when doors are locked, lights are off, and everyone is to keep down and out of sight.
● Evacuate is used to move people from one location to a different location in or out of the building and may be followed by a location.
● Shelter is for group and self protection followed by a stated hazard and safety strategy.

Dougherty said also that medical teams discovered the simple act of surgical teams meeting and introducing themselves brought about a significant improvement in the outcome. The SRP is a tool for school officials, first responders and law enforcement to work out rational, organized tactics for responses to weather events, fires, accidents, intruders and other threats to personal safety.

Dr. Roseboro added that she saw the SRP as a bridge between law enforcement, educators, students and parents providing an opportunity to talk to each other.

“Once you go through that,” Roseboro continued, “you are never the same. I now have a mission to bring awareness to how vulnerable a school district can be. You don’t want to be vulnerable. You don’t want to be reactive. You want to be proactive. It’s also important for the community to know its role and how to respond.”

Today there are an estimated 40,000 schools, districts and departments using this program. The actual number is difficult to calculate since the information is provided as a free download.

For more information about the SRP, go to