Recap of New Jersey Safety For All: A Blueprint for Schools and Outside Agencies Working Together
On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, our Executive Director Andrew Roszak had the privilege of delivering the keynote address at the Safety For All: A Blueprint for Schools and Outside Agencies Working Together Conference in Monroe Township, New Jersey. The conference was a collaboration between the Institute for Childhood Preparedness, The New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA), The Foundation for Educational Administration (FEA), NJSACC: The Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities, and Child Care Aware of New Jersey. The day focused on increasing safety and collaboration between after school programs and the schools that host them.
During a typical 8:00 am-3:00 pm school day, many schools employ a wide variety of security apparatus, such as metal detectors, school resource officers, locked doors, and policies for visitors. But, when the bell rings, security features disappear, and after school programs are on their own, unable to benefit from these security systems. It’s important to note that nearly 1/3 of school shootings happen during after school hours; out of 1,421 shooting incidents, 452 occurred after school. One of the conference’s main discussion points was how to implement safety and security measures for after-school programs and ensure organizations running after school programs are included in emergency preparedness plans and drills.
Communication is Key
The conference focused on the need for increased communication between before- and after-school programs. If a school experiences threats or issues during the day, that information should be transmitted to the after-school program right away. It’s also essential that after-school programs understand how school phone and communication systems work. For example, does the after-school staff know how to use the intercom or landline phones? After-school teachers and staff need to know whether they have to dial out to get an outside line, or if can they pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1.
Notification Protocols Before and After School
If an incident occurs after school hours, after-school staff should always notify law enforcement. Just remember, local law enforcement may assume that a school is unoccupied if it is late in the afternoon or early evening.