As a society, the group of people we want to protect the most is children. This week in our video series we talked to Michele Gay from Safe and Sound Schools. This mom lost her daughter, Joey, in the Sandy Hook shootings. Out of the tragedy, Michele founded her organization to raise awareness about school safety. She spoke to us about not having the luxury to defer security in schools, “We don’t have the privilege, and when it comes to our kids, why would we want to do that?”.
Schools across the country are now back in session and while Covid is a top priority, it shouldn’t be the only one. Michele travels the country talking to schools and she finds about twenty percent have a property emergency response plan. The main culprit in not having a higher number goes back to a mentality I saw far too many times in the news business. The notion that something as horrible as a mass school shooting just can’t happen in safe, quiet towns. Michele says Newtown, Connecticut is the perfect example of why that mentality has to be changed.
Something PRS finds when we conduct risk assessments is also what Michele sees as the number one problem in schools, access control. Often schools are left wide open and have no surveillance systems to see who is coming in and out of the building. She encourages schools as a first step, to reach out to public safety officials and then adopt formal plans using private security professionals.
Michele also talked to us about what it’s like to endure losing a child in such a violent way and what carries her through the day. Click on the video to hear that and be sure to visit our website for more videos like this one.
Safe and Sound Schools is holding its annual National Summit of School Safety from October 26-28, where a lineup of experts will talk about school safety, share best practices and lessons learned. For more information on that, click here.