Given the nation’s current climate, demand for safety in public schools is very high. Now, more than ever, schools must be aware of the protocols to ensure the safety of students and staff
Navigate360 CEO Jean-Paul “JP” Guilbault, and Michael Lubelfeld, superintendent of North Shore School District in Illinois, addressed a large audience Friday morning in response to the July 4 Highland Park shooting in Lubelfeld’s area. The two wanted to educate the audience on layered proactive approaches that have helped Lubelfeld prepare for and prevent further safety incidents.
Lubelfeld said two days after the shooting, the district opened for summer school. Though it wasn’t a school incident, it still heavily affected the community. He said his job was to be proactive in making sure students, parents and staff were as comfortable as they could be for not only the summer, but for school years to follow.
Lubelfeld explained that accomplished this by taking an integrated approach to the safety issue. The district performed mental check-ins with students and staff to make sure they felt supported and to help the school be aware of any threat detections.
Guilbault said check-ins are a part of a database to ensure schools aren’t missing any red flags. He said a behavioral, emotional issue that goes unmanaged could pose a risk to the student’s mental health or the school as a whole. It’s important to be involved with the data taking of your school, because the statistics don’t lie, Lubelfeld said.
Investing in the safety of the school building is vital in ensuring every person is safe as well, said Lubelfeld. Each school is different, and making each one as safe as it can be will not only prevent incidents, but give the people in the school a sense of security. The superintendent mentioned that implementing apps, such as one that locks any door around the school is a big change that has made his schools much safer.
Lubelfeld said it’s also imperative to keep the communication open between the community. He said that letting them know, how his schools are moving forward and planning, has helped put nerves at ease. The school is a part of community, he said, and they have to know how they can help as well as how you’re helping their children.
Lubelfeld added calm planning, training and research are the only way to ensure the survival of every student and staff within the school. It will take data collection, hard conversations and funding, he said, but there’s no price too big when it comes to the safety of your community.
(Samara Penny is an intern for Conference Daily Online and a junior at Judson High School, Converse, Texas.)