The school shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was horrifying and heartbreaking. We all have different feelings and reactions – anger, fear, grief. And we all deal with them differently. As a former teacher who’s married to a teacher, I can tell you that for my husband and me, school shootings are a fear that we try to push to the backs of our minds because if we dwell on it, we won’t be able to focus on anything.
Every time there is a workplace violence incident or a violent incident in a school, my husband and I work through our emotions by reviewing the facts of the case and doing our best to learn from what happened. No matter how you choose to cope with your own emotions, the following are important questions to ask about policies and procedures in your workplace or school:
*What is the screening process for individuals who enter?
*What security measures are in place to keep dangerous people and/or devices and weapons out?
*Are specific security personnel in place at entrances or checkpoints?
*Are employees permitted to carry weapons onto the property? If so, what are the regulations related to carrying, storing and discharging that weapon?
*In the event of a security breach, what are the lockdown and evacuation procedures?
*If you believe that a current or former employee or student is a threat to your workplace or school, what are the procedures for reporting this?
*What are the procedures for dealing with an employee or student who is believed to have a mental illness that makes him/her a possible or likely danger to him/herself and/or others?
*If you believe that a person unrelated to your company is a threat to you or your workplace, what are the procedures for reporting this?
*Are there written standard operating procedures in place for what each employee needs to do related to prevention, reporting and monitoring individuals?
*What is the evaluation process to make sure that each and every employee follows any and all procedures?
*What is the evaluation process to make sure that any third party individuals or agencies involved in reporting and monitoring follow any and all procedures?
*What cross-checks are in place to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks?
As dreadful as these questions are, it is better to have these difficult conversations as a means of prevention rather than as soul-aching discussions after a school shooting or workplace violence incident.