School Safety: Preparing for worst-case scenarios at local schools

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — For many people hearing the terms “stop drop and roll,” or “duck and cover,” were common during drills at school.

Many people accepted these drills because our parents reinforced that the training was important.
Douglas Parisi is the director of training for Safe Defend and says parents need to do the same with school “intruder” drills.

“Parents should be talking to your kids that: these things are normal, your teachers have a good plan, you just need to do what your teacher says,” says Parisi.

He is also a former police captain with over 20 years of service.
Parisi works with schools, businesses, and government institutions on crisis response planning and threat mitigation.

While incidents of any shooter on a school campus is a parent’s worst nightmare, Parisi says they are rare – out of the 144-thousand schools nationwide, there are roughly 15-20 incidents a year.

“What we are doing here is we are not training for something we think is going to happen, we are training for the possibility, but we understand the probability is extremely low,” he added.

If your child does hear of a threat at school, it’s important you let your kids know, they need to report it.

“When parents give permission to say “rat out” your friends, to say it in the worst term, or at least or advise that something is going on, then the children are more empowered to actually report those sort of things!” said Parisi.

“The worst thing a parent can do is to tell the kid to run if there’s ever a crisis,” he says.

Parisi says you don’t want your child running into danger.

For example, if an intruder is in the school hallway, barricade the door.

“It’s important to tell elementary school kids and middle schoolers that you can help, you can definitely participate in setting up barricades, but most importantly again get into that safety corner or area.

If you have a phone on, make sure it’s in airplane mode so that nothing is going to alert anyone to your presence or anything like that,” he added.

Take these situations seriously, and if it turns out to be more than just a drill, remember the police are on their way.

A pilot program with Safe Defend is happening at Howard Heckethorn Elementary.

The principal there, says half the school has been outfitted with a notification system, and the complete program will likely be installed sometime next year.