September CSSL Newsletter

John McDonald 
Chief Operating Officer
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Welcome back to school!

Thank you for taking the time to read our first newsletter. The Council for School Safety Leadership is a school board association-owned program that provides crisis management services to leaders in K-12 education across the U.S. We are part of the K-12 Safety division of the Missouri School Boards’ Association and the only national program that focuses on crisis management services for executive leaders and their unique role in school safety. Leaders Keep School Safe. 
The work that we do focuses on what we know best, Crisis Response Services, Crisis Communications, Confidential District Investigations, Crisis Management Training and School Safety Expert Witness Testimony. On your most difficult days, when the decisions you make will have lasting impact on your school, district, and community, we are ready with a team of nationally recognized leaders in the K-12 crisis management and school safety space to provide the support and partnership on the path to recovery. 
This newsletter is a laboratory of shared ideas, concepts and programs focused on keeping students and educators safer. We will talk about the uncomfortable truths in the world of school threats and violence, how to plan, prepare, respond, and recover. We owe this to every student and educator impacted by school violence. They deserve our very best and that is our commitment. 
Kind regards, 
The Council for School Safety Leadership team


A logo in the shape of a stop sign that reads "STOP THE PROP" Protect our schools, Keep this door locked. From The Council for School Safety Leadership
School safety doesn’t always have to be expensive. There are a number of high-tech based safety and security solutions for K-12 schools that are making a difference, but there are also low-cost, high-impact, easy-win programs that are available and can be implemented quickly and at little to no cost. 
The Council for School Safety Leadership introduces the “Stop the Prop” for schools’ campaign first developed by our Chief Operating Officer, John McDonald. This program has been growing organically across the country including at Springfield, Missouri Public Schools where their team created artwork for the “Stop the Prop” campaign. The program has been met with great success and has become a conversation jump starter in schools, according to Springfield Public Schools Police Chief Jim Farrell. There are many versions created across the country, but we thought this stood out! 
It is important to understand that every locked and secured perimeter door in a school act as a time barrier from someone with ill intent and focused on entering a school. A locked door can slow down or even stop someone from getting in, yet one of the most common security concerns we observe is the number of propped doors on any given day. When shots are fired, time matters and seconds count so “Stop the Prop!” 
Stop the Prop window stickers on perimeter doors is a reminder to everyone in the building of the importance of school safety. Combined with student led video commercials during morning announcements, or through internal marketing campaigns, “Stop the Prop” is quickly becoming a great way to engage stakeholders and remind everyone that school safety is everyone’s responsibility. Click on the following link for access to the artwork for your school or district. 
If you start using “Stop the Prop,” we will enjoy hearing from you!

The Crisis Corner

A significant number of school crisis management failures can be traced back to a failure of communication. A decade ago, districts had a 15 – 20 minute window to send messaging out to parents, field media calls and push information out through social media. Today, that window is significantly smaller, tolerance is minimal, and expectations are higher, adding stress to an already chaotic environment. 
Fear of being wrong, fear of angering parents, fear of possible litigation and fear of a demanding media can create an environment where good crisis management practices are forgotten, and panic management begins. The expectation for information today demands action within 10 minutes and warning bells start sounding at the 7-minute mark. Are you ready? 
Strong partnerships with first responder agencies can help mitigate this issue, preparing and prestaging emergency messages ahead of time can help reduce the stress of the clock. Spend the time planning and training to get this right because at the end of the day, your entire response will be viewed through the lens of how well or how poorly you communicated. And we all know, perception becomes reality. 
The lack of patience is understandable but also problematic for school districts. In this era of school violence, parents want to know their child is safe and if we don’t tell them what is happening, they will go to the school to find out, and in a crisis, law enforcement and school safety resources need to focus on the response at the school for the students and staff.
What is your plan? What are you prepared for?
For crisis communications training, consultation and support, The Council for School Safety Leadership is ready to help.
Address: 2100 I-70 DR SW Columbia, MO 65203 | Phone: 573-445-2562
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