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SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 75 

 

 Terrorism, Intelligence and Schools

 

Let's Stop the violence! 

See how KEYS can help!!

Terrorism AlertOctober 2002 the Washington Times reported that intelligence agencies have received information that extremist terrorist groups have targeted schools in America. This includes elementary through university. 

November 2003 Homeland Security released memo stating that the terrorist groups responsible for the attacks of 9/11 are shifting their emphasis to secondary soft targets. The memo specified schools as among the soft targets and included a photograph of a possible chemical weapon that would be used. In May 2004 they issued a memo about how they may penetrate "soft targets" like dressing up as a pregnant woman and in realist this is a suicide bomber.   In a July 2003 they issued another memo alert about stolen uniforms and identification as means of gaining entry. 

Last week Homeland Security announced that the heart of America’s financial sector is at risk and issued an Alert Condition Orange for those institutions. Many of the reports on which they relied were two years old. It has been difficult for Secretary Ridge to convince the public that the threat is real and credible when citing these documents. It is important to take this threat to heart and to note that the information about targeting schools was collected during the same time frame.

To provide a better understanding of intelligence, it helps to think of it as a process.

When iron ore is mined, tons of dirt and rock are collected from the earth. This is then processed over a period of time to filter the dirt out of the ore bearing rocks, which are then crushed and fed into a steel mill. Other ingredients are added from other sources. The final result is a useful, steel implement.

Information is much like the mining portion of the process. Tons of it are collected, much is simply dirt. Parts are like iron; strong, basic but with limited applications. The addition of other elements converts iron to steel and information to intelligence. The process takes time. Two-year old information can be valuable when other more recent elements are considered. Every Administrator and Teacher should pay attention to the announcements from the Department of Homeland Security.

Once convinced that terrorists may strike schools, far too many Administrators have chosen to play the numbers game. That is, with over a million schools from which to choose, the odds of any specific school being a target are very small. With very tight budgets and more to be done there is money to pay for it, who can blame them for letting this issue slide to the back burner. However, the question is, should your school’s Terrorism Contingency Plan be playing the odds or proactive planning?

Keys To Safe Schools.com can help. We believe, as most of you do, that proactive planning is the best solution. We also believe that schools are not generally well equipped for this type of planning. There are a number of schools that are large enough to have full time professional security staffs. Many of these are manned with former military and law enforcement personnel who have the background for terrorism planning. The vast majority of schools are not so blessed. Most are staffed with professional educators who do an admirable job of educating our youth. They do not have the experience nor the time to develop truly viable contingency plans. It is far more efficient to contract for such a service. When seeking outside help, avoid the "bargain hunters" trap. There are free programs available from government and private agencies, as well as inexpensive "off the shelf" plans designed to fit every school and situation. The old proverb, "You get what you pay for" is very much the rule in contingency planning.

Here is what Keys can offer:  The Crisis Continuum

  1. A completed project. Not a book of theories and concepts to help you write your own.

  2. A plan tailored specifically to your school.

  3. Within your budget constraints.

  4. Using the actual resources you have available.

  5. Fully integrated planning using all First Responders and Emergency Services.

  6. A workable terrorism plan that will serve your school well in the event of a natural or man-made crisis other than terrorism.

Contact one of the professionals at Keys to discuss how your school can move from "playing the odds" to having a comprehensive, fully integrated, pro-active Contingency Plan.

  • To Learn How "Keys To Safer Schools" Can Help.
  • Learning what to look for - "Early Warning Signs"
  • Map of School Shootings
  • Reported By:
    Frank G. Green
    Director
    Keys To Safer Schools

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