I was tagged in this Tweet and when I read the content, my heart rate soared and my mind raced. A school nurse was asked by a parent at her elementary school’s open house if she was trained to respond to COVID, Monkeypox, and an active shooter. I sent the nurse a message to see if she would share her response. In the meantime, I am posting this valid question from the parent. Are we trained, are we ready, and what do we need?
While I can assuredly answer, absolutely, that I am trained to respond to COVID, I am not as sure about Monkeypox. I am reading all that I can from the CDC and our state department of health. I am skilled in infection control measures and have taught school staff over the past three school years what we can do to keep ourselves and our students safe. Unfortunately, the CDC and health departments have ended many of the mitigation strategies that we have used to keep our students safe, and our schools open.
The question that troubles me most is if we are ready for an active shooter. I do not believe that we have systems in place to stop the shooters before they shoot. Many of the school shooters have connections to the schools they target. Everytown for Gun Safety just released a comprehensive document that includes actionable solutions. I encourage everyone to digest this important information and share it with your school districts.
How To Stop Shootings and Gun Violence in Schools A Plan to Keep Students Safe
Let’s talk about solutions and share resources. Based on the recommendations from Everytown, there are specific actions that schools can take to address the following:
One of the programs that I am determined to bring to my school district is called HELPme – a healing-centered approach to school safety!
Learn more about how HELPme works and download the guide through this link:
Connect, Help & Prevent – A Guide for K-12 Mental Health and Wellness Support for Students, Staff, and Families
The reason I am so encouraged by HELPme is that it is a trauma-responsive multi-prong platform that supports student safety. I believe in the mission and vision of HELPme and have recently joined their Advisory Board. There is grant funding available to bring HELPme to your school districts and the organization will help you navigate accessing the allocated funds. The anonymous reporting of concerns about a student’s well-being is vetted by trained staff through a 24/7 call center. This is quite different than other programs that route calls to identified school staff. We know that the bandwidth within schools is at an all-time low. For the first time, I feel I have found a tool that checks all of the boxes I had hoped for in a school safety program. My next step will be to bring this program to my school district. Let’s join efforts to bring this trauma-responsive and fully funded program to our schools!