What to do after a school shooting

The Robb Elementary School Shooting: Navigating the Aftermath

Yesterday’s Robb Elementary School shooting is absolutely devastating. As we navigate the emotional process today, we know and want to share that there are resources to help you and your family and/or you and your school/community. We work with people who have been involved in a school shooting. These events hurt; we are nearing decade two of working to improve school safety. Specifically, in the area of communications. We are one small piece in the school safety toolbelt, as we say, doing what we can to help make children safer.
Knowingly, children see and hear all forms of media. After events like yesterday, limitation to their exposure to the media’s coverage of a school shooting is necessary. Discussing said events with them is helpful and so is this article:
-How to talk to your children about a school shooting, by age: https://lnkd.in/dEJSewV

Fortunately, SchoolSAFE is in Colorado, a state that is very proactive with school safety. Measures can be taken to improve safety in schools, whichever tool on the toolbelt the school needs. Funding helps schools get the necessary resources needed for a safer environment.

Please contact your local representative to advocate for improvement, contact members of congress; every voice matters. Not sure where to start? Click here.

This is a very small sample of what can be done to help. Thoughts and prayers are never enough but our hearts are with the town of Uvalde.

Get in touch with us to discuss further.

School Safety Grants

Here at SchoolSAFE, we pride ourselves in our ability to empower community partnerships. Throughout our trainings, we watch school safety teams and public safety personnel work together to improve their communications during an emergency. An added bonus during these trainings occurs when ideas are shared between the professional first responders and those in charge at the school because improvements are made. Many times, within the discussions for improvement include the necessity of funding to accomplish what was talked about.  With the current climate in school safety, there are many opportunities to apply for funding. Improvements to schools in their communications efforts, controlled access, interoperability, and safety personnel are all included in the multiple grants currently open for application. Here in Colorado, for example, the SAFER Grant is available to provide hardware, software, and training for interoperable communications. Throughout the country, we have seen a number of other open grants. Some are listed below. Never hesitate to apply, it is worth the effort to aim to get funding to improve your school(s) and district safety measures.


SAFER grant

-School security disbursement grant


-Capitalized equipment grant


-Physical security of buildings


-School safety improvements

New Hampshire

-School hardening

School Safety Reflections

Recently, I reflected back on my involvement with school safety and the changes during the past 36 years. In the eighties, school safety was focused on accident prevention. Fire drills were the only active exercises conducted with any regularity. Safety inspections were most frequently conducted by the local fire department, or with guidance from the district’s insurance company’s risk management section, to eliminate “hazards” that could cause injury to students and staff. Back then, death at school was rare and usually occurred as a result of a medically fragile student or a particularly unfortunate accident. School “security” meant closing the windows and locking the doors, and maybe setting the burglar alarm at the end of the day to protect the property. Today, school shootings have become so prevalent that school violence is included among the myriad hazards and threats that are addressed by the term “school safety.” Thirty years ago, school staff and students didn’t think about school shootings. Today, they do.

Why the change happened may be a reflection of a changes in our society, but when the widespread public perception that change was needed began first in 1998 with the Jonesboro, Arkansas school shooting, followed by Columbine High School in 1999. These two events were widely publicized and analyzed, and the beginnings of realization began to drive changes at schools and in how law enforcement responds to these types of events. Threat assessment, restorative justice, school safety teams, anti-bullying programs, detailed crisis management plans, School Resource Officers, lockdown drills – all these things have been developed over the years and are contributing to safer schools in our changing society. The issues of thirty years ago still apply, but the new normal has complicated the realm of school safety.

Last week, we worked with a Metro-Denver area school district who just received a two-way radio interoperability system through Colorado’s new SAFER grant program. The system allows school radios to “inter-operate” with police, fire, EMS and the 911 call center’s radios, on-demand and as needed, using radios to pass and receive critical information during a school emergency. While working through several emergency scenarios using two-way radios, the Superintendent made an important observation: he said interoperability is a useful capability and the exercises and practice is what would make the difference for school staff during various school emergencies.

At SchoolSAFE, our training program was developed to teach our clients to communicate effectively using two-way radio during challenging scenarios based on events that have actually occurred at schools. We don’t focus only on our worst fear of school violence, like the active shooter, but also include the myriad of other hazards in our exercises. We do this work, as you do, to make a difference. Last week’s comment by the superintendent helps validate one of our core beliefs – focused practice will help us respond more effectively when the unthinkable happens, no matter the “school safety” situation.