Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel addresses a news conference on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 15, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. (Broward County Sheriff’s Office)

DHS Steps Up Preparedness Training to Counter Gun Violence in Schools

DHS has announced it will step up its actions to protect schools against gun violence and other threats in the wake of the Parkland Florida school shooting.

The agency has established an Executive Steering Committee to drive its school security efforts and support state and local initiatives. It is engaging school administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders across the K-12 and college university communities, as well as law enforcement and other first responders who serve those communities, to raise awareness, communicate best practices, and promote no cost/low cost security measures.

“No child should have to worry about their safety when in school,” Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said. “The department’s top priority is to keep the American people safe, and we are closely examining ways to better protect our nation’s students and schools from gun violence.”

“While state and local partners have primary responsibility for the physical security at schools, through trainings, best practices guides, workshops, and tabletop exercises, we hope to improve awareness and foster a culture of preparedness. We are working with partners around the country to harden these vulnerable targets. By ensuring administrators and stakeholders in the K-12 and higher education communities, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and first responders are part of this effort, we can better educate the entire community on threats to school safety,” she said.

“The public is often our greatest partner in identifying suspicious activity, and we are strengthening public awareness campaigns to encourage everyone—students, teachers, and their communities—to report suspicious school-related activity to local law enforcement.”

Some of the initiatives to improve school security include the Hometown Security Program, which works with schools and community leaders to proactively think about security and implement security measures and the Tactical Emergency Casualty Care program, which provides high-threat medical training, including for community stakeholders who respond to incidents at schools in our communities.

DHS also provides preparedness grants that can be used for training, exercises, planning, personnel, and equipment to prepare for many threats and hazards, including active shooter incidents, as well as for enhancing school safety. The department is conducting a School Attack Research Study that will will identify information regarding the attacker’s motives, prior behaviors, communications, situational factors, and other variables that will enhance prevention efforts and early warning.

See more here and find the links to all the initiatives offered by DHS.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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