Lockdown. Lockout. Shelter in Place. Evacuation. Words that make up part of a new vocabulary in the nation’s schools. A vocabulary that all educators need to know, but often are so busy with other tasks there’s no time to learn exactly what they mean or how to put them into practice.
Thanks to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, educators can now learn about those “vocabulary words,” and other related concepts, in a free series of 25 short videos.
Although the “Active Shooter Response: An Educator’s Guide” series was designed with Ohio administrators, teachers and law enforcement officers in mind, only Videos No. 1 and 21 in the series actually detail concepts specific to that state. Available at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/SchoolSafety, the videos discuss the previously mentioned concepts and others such as duties of responding officers, barricade locks, moving the injured and what to expect when law enforcement arrives. A companion workbook can be found at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Files/Publications-Files/Publications-for-Schools/Active-Shooter-Response-Companion-Workbook.aspx; it provides a summary of each video, discussion points and next steps.
Public Information Officer Jill Del Greco says the videos were designed so that administrators could select one or two to show on professional development days, or teachers could look at a few that particularly interested them during down time.
“When we were discussing how to put them together, several of us who had television news experience said we needed to keep the information in small, digestible bites,” she says. All 25 videos are less than four minutes in length, and a sequence of related videos on treating injuries isolates each different type of injury in its own video, rather than stringing them together in one long episode on treating a number of different injuries.
Because all schools differ in their needs, the project tried to make the videos general in nature, with the unexpected bonus outcome that teachers and schools in other states can benefit from watching them as well: “We wanted to get schools and local law enforcement thinking about what they need to do. Every school has its own unique challenges and we want them to think about things to consider when they begin to create a plan. They really are meant to get the conversation started,” Del Greco says.
The release of the series marks the latest effort in a campaign that began after the shooting at Ohio’s Chardon High School in February 2012. Attorney General Mike DeWine convened a school safety task force following that incident that generated a number of recommendations, and in addition, the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy created active shooter training specific to schools. Since then, the OPOTA has trained some 15,000 educators throughout the state on how to identify, and then intervene, with a student who is struggling, and on how to respond in a crisis. In addition to holding 98 trainings throughout the state, OPOTA created a training DVD that schools could use on professional development days. Then came the February 2018 shooting in Parkland, Fla., and the Attorney General’ s Office recognized a need to complement and update the training.
“We came up with these digestible short videos that anyone can access any time of the day at their convenience. They can watch them at home if they want,” Del Greco says. “We wanted them to be something that every school could understand and that every school could adapt to meet its own needs.”
One universal concept the videos emphasize is the need to work together with local law enforcement, and in turn, Del Greco says that local law enforcement also can benefit from watching the videos: “Just as it’s important for educators to reach out to law enforcement, law enforcement needs to keep in touch with the school district. They need to work on developing plans together.”
For more information on “Active Shooter Response: An Educator’s Guide,” contact Jill Del Greco at Jill.DelGreco@ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
Ohio Uses Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Help Schools Create Plans
In coordination with the release of “Active Shooter Response: An Educator’s Guide,” the Ohio Attorney General’s office also announced that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations will use its UASs to take free aerial photographs that schools can use in their safety plans.
Jill Del Greco, public information officer, says that many schools try to use shots taken by Google’s aerial view to illustrate plans, and these photos may be grainy and somewhat dated. At the request of local law enforcement and with permission from the school district, the state will now use its UASs to take accurate, in-depth photographs. Staff at the Attorney General’s Office came up with the idea while brainstorming on ideas to help schools prepare for a possible attack. In addition, an advisory group met for a year to draft best practices and develop model policies on UAS use by law enforcement.