SchoolSafety.gov – the new site from DHS, ED, DOJ, and HHS for K-12 administrators, educators, parents, and law enforcement to address school security needs – includes Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) Guidelines as its only non-government resource.
The U.S. Federal government recently launched its Federal School Safety Clearinghouse website: SchoolSafety.gov is designed as a one-stop shop of resources for K-12 administrators, educators, parents, and law enforcement to use to prepare for and address threats related to safety, security, and support in schools, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release.
Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools (4th Edition) is presented alongside several government-developed resources as the only third-party resource recommended by the new site. This is a significant advancement for PASS, which was launched by NSCA and Security Industry Association (SIA).
President Trump established the Federal Commission on School Safety to review safety practices and make meaningful and actionable recommendations of best practices to keep students safe, according to the U.S. Department of Education. SchoolSafety.gov reflects those recommendations.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, SchoolSafety.gov is a resource for the American public, primarily K-12 school administrators, to access free information, guidance, best practices, and tools that make school safety initiatives more actionable in schools. The launch represents the first phase of SchoolSafety.gov, as it intends to continually expand and refine resource materials in coordination with partners and stakeholders.
“Studies show our children’s learning improves when they feel safe,” says Mark Williams, vice chairman, PASS. “The PASS Guidelines and Checklist Tools continue to be recognized, nationally and internationally, as a standard for helping schools navigate the complexity of implementing a layered and tiered approach to enhancing the safety and security of their environments.”
What is PASS (Partner Alliance for Safer Schools)?
First established in 2014, PASS brings together expertise from the education, public safety, and technology industry communities to develop and support an appropriate and coordinated approach to making effective use of proven and vetted security practices specific to K-12 environments, as well as informed decisions on security investments.
PASS Guidelines and Resources are tools for objective analysis by school officials, community stakeholders, and solutions providers for assessing their current state and prioritizing school safety and security needs.
The following PASS resources are provided at no charge as part of the mission to improve school safety and security.
The primary focuses of the PASS Guidelines are physical security and life safety; recommendations are limited to related policies, procedures, equipment, and technology. Modern and effective security infrastructure is an essential element of any comprehensive school safety strategy, but not the only element. When other prevention efforts fail, facility security measures are critical to protection, mitigation, and response.
The Guidelines do not address every risk and every situation and, importantly, do not include product- or manufacturer-specific recommendations.
“This is a great resource that will undoubtedly improve the safety posture in our schools,” says Chuck Wilson, a board member and co-founder of PASS. “By using these tools, and following the PASS guideline as a technology roadmap, one can easily envision how each district could develop a plan tailored to their needs.”
Mission of SchoolSafety.gov
In March 2018—following the school shooting in Parkland, FL, on Feb. 14—President Trump signed an executive order establishing the Federal Commission on School Safety to make meaningful advancements in keeping students safe.
“School safety is the number one priority of parents across the country, which is why the President directed DHS and other federal agencies to form a taskforce and provide schools, teachers, parents, and law enforcement with resources to identify, prepare for, respond to, and mitigate threats,” says Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “The Department provided expertise and resources on a range of school safety issues, including threat assessments, physical security, emergency planning, and training and exercises designed to help schools and local law enforcement prepare for incidents. With these resources, schools and law enforcement will be better equipped to handle a crisis.”
“All students deserve a safe learning environment, and the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse is an essential resource for information and best practices,” says U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, chair of the Federal Commission on School Safety. “Because every school community has its own unique needs, SchoolSafety.gov equips decision makers with resources for developing, customizing, and implementing actionable school safety plans.”
“Every child should feel safe at school, and every parent should feel that their child is safe each day, too,” says HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “SchoolSafety.gov will help equip schools with the tools they need to create safe, healthy environments, including resources for how to provide mental health services in schools. This new one-stop shop complements the evidence-based technical assistance HHS provides to local communities around mental health treatment, and we hope to see more and more schools explore these opportunities.”
“The Department of Justice has no higher priority than making sure our schools are safe and secure for our nation’s students, teachers, and administrators,” says Attorney General William P. Barr. “I am grateful for President Trump’s leadership in this cause and am honored to stand with the rest of the leadership of his Administration as we continue our efforts to promote school safety through SchoolSafety.gov. The Department of Justice is deeply grateful for the sacrifice and commitment of our nation’s school resource officers and police officers who are on the front lines of keeping our schools and country safe every day.”