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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Training is key initiative for school terrorism prevention

Schools are “soft targets” for terrorism, but they aren’t doing enough to protect themselves, according to Kenneth S. Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, who was quoted in Newark, NJ’s The Star-Ledger.

New Jersey recently claimed 96 percent of its schools have developed or are developing written emergency guidelines, but Trump says, “While these plans exist in writing, the majority have not been thoroughly or regularly tested. Our assessments typically find a significant lack of ongoing safety training for administrators, teachers and support personnel, such as secretaries, bus drivers and custodians.”

He also says, “Many schools do not practice basic lockdown drills or conduct hypothetical scenario planning, much less do more intensive crisis plan exercises.”

He claims schools made progress in school security post-Columbine and post-9/11 but the progress has stalled and is slipping backward.

“Increasing the safety awareness and preparedness of school officials requires school leaders to provide adequate time for training and emergency planning,” he says.