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Vital Steps to Building a School Safety Legacy

Kelly Moore
March 16, 2023

Whenever we are embarking on a new adventure or journey, we think of the old proverb, “A Journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.” When you started your academic journey, it began with a single step. You learned along the way from every step you took. Do you remember what it was like taking that first step? Were you nervous, excited, bold, adventurous? Maybe you were all of these. Regardless of how you felt that first day of kindergarten, you are not that same person. You have grown and most importantly, you have learned. But in order for you to get to where you are currently, you needed to take that first step. No one expected you to graduate from college the next day. There were many steps that were needed to get you to where you are today. There were likely many days on that journey where you were challenged, taken out of your comfort zone, stressed, and overwhelmed, but here you are.  This process is required for every new journey. Learning about school safety is no different. Learn to enjoy the journey.

In this month's blogs, we discussed the need to create a vibrant safety culture and the need to participate in the improvement and accountability processes. This month we are discussing transitioning from inactive to active participants. As education professionals, you understand more than most that it is not enough to teach, but the student has to learn in order to be successful in any subject: just because we taught something, doesn’t mean the student learned it. As far as safety is concerned, it is also important that the student demonstrates they understand what is expected of them to know. As we discussed last week in “Meeting Expectations”, this is likely a very good place to start; understanding what is expected of you.

Here is where the value of having standard policies, procedures, and safety protocols becomes evident. If you are responsible for teaching and training safety, it is much easier to accomplish that herculean task if you are teaching/training everyone on the same material. So what are we looking for in the school safety learning process? Keep in mind that this is a continual learning process, not a pass-fail class. Here we are striving to bring everyone to a level of competency that gives them the confidence and skills necessary to respond to any situation required to keep the campus safe. Now let’s take a look at some of the recommended first few steps you should be considering as you begin your journey:

  1. Make the commitment to yourself and others to become an avid student of safety.

  2. Acknowledge and become comfortable with being uncomfortable when it comes to your safety journey. This expands your capabilities and capacity to learn.

  3. Look at your organization’s policies, procedures, and expectations so you understand them thoroughly. If you have questions or lack understanding, ask for answers and clarification.

  4. Become a member of your school safety team.

  5. Learn your roles and responsibilities.

  6. As we all know, teaching makes you a better student. Take the opportunities to share your knowledge, skills, and experiences with everyone who will listen.

  7. Seek out partnerships that will enhance and expand your knowledge, experience, and skills.

  8. Create a “safe” space where you can have frank and open discussions about tough subject matters.

  9. Encourage people to accept failure as a critical function of the learning process. As the UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Don’t be afraid of failure, but learn from it.”

  10. Seek out resources from websites like FEMA (online course in emergency management and response), REMS (model plans and policies specifically for schools), the “Iloveuguys.org” foundation, the US Secret Service (behavioral and threat assessments), and many others.

  11. Never stop learning! I have been in public safety for almost 40 years and I learn something new every day. Trust me, if I can do it, you can too.

We will all create our own legacy. What do you want your legacy to be? Legacies are the culmination of all your actions (good and bad) AND your inactions as well. What you choose to do today will dramatically change what your legacy will be. If you choose correctly, you will be the one whose legacy will be remembered as the one who created good and saved lives in a world where there was so much uncertainty.

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