School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: If Only We Could Bubble Wrap Our Students to Keep Them Safe…

We have had a series of community shootings that have resulted in lockouts in schools over the past few weeks. My alert has rung too many times in recent months, due to community gun violence that requires schools to respond. My concern is that the language used is not uniform and further adds to a stressful situation. I always tell my students who get hurt in school that I wish I could bubble wrap them to keep them safe. Safety in school has taken on a whole new meaning as school and community violence escalates. 

Lockouts, lockdowns, shelter-in-place, all terms that need clarification in schools. Using standard response protocols, drilling the terms and actions needed, instead of hyper-realistic traumatizing exercises, will be beneficial to prepare for the unthinkable, but sadly predictable, scenario of gun violence at school.

Here are open access resources and downloadable training manuals from the team at I Love You Guys that use Standard Response Protocol (SRP). Special appreciation to my Twitter friend,    Ted Zocco-Hochhalter for introducing me to this valuable information.

Reprinted from


Easy to implement        Easy to understand.                         

A uniform, planned, and practiced response to any incident is the foundation of a safe school. Safe business. Safe community. The SRP is action-based, flexible, and easy to learn. It rationally organizes tactics for response to weather events, fires, accidents, intruders and other threats to personal safety.

The SRP’s development is ever-evolving, created with extensive collaboration between experts such as first responders, public safety, school, districts, and communities. Its tactics are data-driven, researched and based on experience and contemporary practices.

On the Same Page. Everyone.

The benefits of SRP become quickly apparent. By standardizing the vocabulary, all stakeholders can understand the response and status of the event.

For students, this provides continuity of expectations and actions throughout their educational career. For teachers, this becomes a simpler process to train and drill. For communities, it leverages the growing adoption of the protocols from residents of all ages. For first responders, the common vocabulary and protocols establish a greater predictability that persists through the duration of an incident.

People easily understand the practices and can reinforce the protocol. Additionally, this protocol enables rapid response determination when an unforeseen event occurs.

SRP is Action Based

The Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is based on the response to any given situation not on individual scenarios. Like the Incident Command System (ICS), SRP demands a specific vocabulary but also allows for great flexibility. The premise is simple – these five specific actions that can be performed during an incident. When communicating these, the action is labeled with a “Term of Art” and is then followed by a “Directive.” Execution of the action is performed by active participants.

Hold - in your classroom or area Hold is followed by the Directive: “In Your Room or Area” and is the protocol used when hallways need to kept clear of occupants.
Secure - Get Inside. Lock Outside Doors Secure is followed by the Directive: “Get Inside. Lock Outside Doors” and is the protocol used to safeguard people within the building.
Lockdown - Locks, Lights, Out of Sight Lockdown is followed by “Locks, Lights, Out of Sight” and is the protocol used to secure individual rooms and keep occupants quiet and in place.
Evacuate - to a stated location Evacuate and may be followed by a location, and is used to move people from one location to a different location in or out of the building.
Shelter - State the hazard and the safety strategy Shelter State the Hazard and Safety Strategy for group and self protection.








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