School Crisis Toolkit

This toolkit is designed to equip school leaders with recommendations of what can be done before, during, and after an incident to prevent and mitigate school violence. There is no “right way” of preventing and responding to school violence as every community is unique. Each checklist contains links to vetted resources. School leaders are encouraged to share this information key stakeholders.

  • Use an anonymous reporting system or tip line

    Use an anonymous reporting system or tip line

    All districts should establish reporting systems to be used by staff, students and families that provide anonymity.

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  • Establish a district and school safety committee comprised of a myriad of key stakeholders

    Establish a district and school safety committee comprised of a myriad of key stakeholders

    A district level safety committee should meet at least quarterly to create, reflect upon, and update district safety plans.

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  • Update safety plan regularly and train all staff on its contents

    Update safety plan regularly and train all staff on its contents

    The district/school safety plan should be collaboratively updated at least annually by the safety committee.

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  • Develop relationships with local first responders

    Develop relationships with local first responders

    Districts and school sites should develop relationships with local first responders, including law enforcement, fire department, and Emergency Medical Technicians.

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  • Conduct lockdown drills, at least once annually, that include all staff. Empower all staff to call a lockdown

    Conduct lockdown drills, at least once annually, that include all staff. Empower all staff to call a lockdown

    Lockdown drills should be scheduled year round with a set approach that staff is familiar with, starting at the beginning of the school year.

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  • Implement research based social emotional learning programs that foster positive campus climate

    Implement research based social emotional learning programs that foster positive campus climate

    Research shows a direct correlation between strong SEL programs and reduced behavioral issues with students.

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  • Create a crisis communication plan that includes specific roles, guidelines, and messaging

    Create a crisis communication plan that includes specific roles, guidelines, and messaging

    All schools are required to have a comprehensive safety plan with specific roles and guidelines reviewed by stakeholders on an annual basis.

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  • Conduct regular security assessments of your school facilities

    Conduct regular security assessments of your school facilities

    Security assessments of each facility in a district can be overwhelming and expensive.

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  • Establish several possible reunification locations and coordinate with those entities

    Establish several possible reunification locations and coordinate with those entities

    Like any emergency, a reunification process must be planned prior to any event.

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  • Ensure students have access to mental health professionals

    Ensure students have access to mental health professionals

    Preparing for emergencies and response to crisis means working with mental health professionals and staff to identify signs of possible issues and then planning for responses.

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  • Create a crisis response box that includes maps, keys, student and staff emergency cards, and medical information

    Create a crisis response box that includes maps, keys, student and staff emergency cards, and medical information

    Many schools have found it helpful to create a crisis response box that is shared with a local police/sheriff’s department.

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  • Identify a crisis command center

    Identify a crisis command center

    To ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, schools and school districts should create comprehensive, multi-hazard emergency management plans.

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  • Call a lockdown

    Call a lockdown

    Immediately call a lockdown and follow the same process used in your drills. Utilize the intercom or communication system to announce the lockdown school-wide.

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  • Call 911

    Call 911

    As soon as an emergency situation is identified, either directly call or designate someone to call 911.

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  • Establish incident command center

    Establish incident command center

    As soon as it is practicable, establish your incident command center and begin operationalizing your School Emergency Response Plan.

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  • Communicate with families, media, and other stakeholders

    Communicate with families, media, and other stakeholders

    Be sure to communicate with parents and key stakeholders so they receive accurate information from you.

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  • Identify a relocation site, and communicate information to families

    Identify a relocation site, and communicate information to families

    In the event of a large-scale emergency, your local law enforcement will likely step in and help you ascertain the relocation site that will be used.

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  • Implement reunification plan

    Implement reunification plan

    The goal with reunification is to safely bring families together. The reality of a fatal school violence event is you may have students or staff that are casualties of the event.

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  • Contact local and regional partners, including mental health providers

    Contact local and regional partners, including mental health providers

    It is important to reach out to known mental health providers or partners as soon as possible after a school crisis.

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  • Continue crisis communications with all stakeholders

    Continue crisis communications with all stakeholders

    In the aftermath of an incident, communication is critically important.

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