Greg Toppo -
A written report of law enforcement professionals,
83 percent said getting into their
schools was very easy or somewhat easy
55 percent said their schools' crisis
plans were inadequate
52 percent said the
plans have never been tested
55 percent said
their schools have no mail-handling procedures for dealing with mail
suspected of containing anthrax or other deadly substances or with
other suspicious packages
74 percent said
their schools do not educate parents or communicate effectively on
school safety, security or crisis planning
A Lesson from History for Use Today
What if…a single person whose hatred for a nation as a whole outweighs
his moral convictions of right and wrong is given the opportunity to make
that entire nation gasp and notice him for a few brief moments.
person had been raised from infancy in a culture that taught dying for such
a cause is the highest reward of all eternity and no opposing views were
What if…that person picked your state, your city, your school,
your child for his moment of glory. When a tyrant or a nation does not have
the Army, Navy or Air Force to be a global power, history teaches that he
will find ways to have a global impact. Terrorism is the common term for
such tactics. The attacks of 9/11 were merely the opening shots fired in
History provides us an example of a similar effort. Very shortly after
the attack on the United States by the Empire of Japan, the US launched a
mission to take the war to the Japanese homeland. This was a conventional
attack but the method was unconventional, i.e., bombers launched from
carriers with no recovery possible. Known as the Doolittle Raid, this was
not a suicide mission as was 9/11, however every pilot volunteered knowing
that they would not be able to return. It demonstrates the historical impact
of bringing a war home to those who usually only know of it through the
media. The same type of response can be expected should the US invade a
country that has demonstrated terrorism as an integral part of their defense
system. The United States military is the best equipped, best trained, best
disciplined in the history of the world. Television sets around the world
demonstrated the futility of direct conflict with this force. However, those
same televisions also showed the world on 9/11 that America can be hit at
home. The same fervor that led pilots to volunteer for the legendary one-way
Doolittle Raid is alive and well in the hearts of patriots and zealots from
other countries. The Doolittle Raid had no military significance but it did
have tremendous psychological importance. A terrorist attack against the US
would similarly have little or no military objective. The goal would be the
greatest political and psychological impact possible. We can, and should,
expect a dramatic response. Knowing where, how and when is the challenge.
Preparation is the Key.
Each of us must play our part in being
prepared for this worldwide conflict with very real local implications.
Where will they strike? Should schools be concerned?
Yes! Schools are listed as "Soft
Targets". Did you know that the 9/11 attack was symbolic
and the goal was to induce fear. Did you know the
Our Schools hold our nations most
precious possession... OUR CHILDREN
Our Schools have the largest daily
gathering of people in most of our communities and at a set time each day.
Our Schools are symbolic of America
freedom; there is even an US flag in front of every one.
Our Schools have little funding for
security and most are ill prepared to protect our Children.
Our Schools are Soft Targets...meaning
as the primary targets become more difficult to hit, terrorists look for
easier ones - Soft
Our Schools have a number of
vulnerabilities, ex. Food Service, Vending Services, Bus Transportation,
etc (see below).
Our Schools do not know what to do
when the nations codes are heighten. Why? No Training and/or specific
difficult to tell schools where and how to be prepared for fear of giving
terrorists ideas that they may not have thought of otherwise. However,
Keys would like to give all schools three areas that need special
(parcel and vending machines)
Delivery Services: Do you know who stocks your vending
machines? What security have those drink cans had prior to being placed on
the lips of your students in your school? Do you ever drink from a can
without washing or wiping the top first? Domestic terrorists have paved the
way for the fanatic terrorist by showing how easy it is to introduce a
foreign substance into pain remedies while they are still on the shelf. News
reports tend to expound on exotic toxins but there are hundreds of
substances available in daily live that no one wants in their snack foods.
If someone wears Brown Pants and baseball cap or a Uniform with a soft
drink name on it, is he or she allowed uncontrolled access to your campus?
It is possible to buy or make these uniforms.
If these people have unescorted access to hallways where classes are in
session, they could be in a position for taking terrorist activity to your
students. Again, avoid tunnel vision on the exotic and larger activities in
the news. Look at other countries that have been experiencing these
activities and note that a very small explosive still creates panic and
Your Food Service personnel are checked-out
by the Health Department and Law Enforcement, but what about the people who
store the food and drive the trucks? Is there any security of the kitchen to
prevent someone from bringing in a small bottle or vial? A single terrorist
(part time kitchen help) with a pocket full of bad chicken can spread enough
salmonella bacteria on food preparation surfaces to disable all who eat
there. The water supply is critical. We wash continuously during food
preparation to make sure there are no germs, but what if the water supply
has been contaminated? And once again, this does not need to be the exotic toxin in
the reservoir. Any supply system with a flush valve system can have such
everyday bacteria as ecoli, botulism, and salmonella introduced into it.
Security of water systems must be as near absolute as humanly possible. Food
service tends to produce a lot of trash. This should be removed daily. Trash
is a common camouflage for explosive devices.
Kids on buses are vulnerable from many
directions. They represent a lot of targets in a small box on top of 50
gallons of gasoline. What security is provided to your buses at night? Are
there easy ambush sites on routes? How would a driver communicate an
unexpected event and how would you respond? The first step that every school
should take is to convert the entire bus fleet to diesel as soon as the
budget will allow. It may smell stronger but is very difficult to make
explode. Be extremely strict on background checks for drivers. Conduct walk
around inspections before entering the bus each trip. Look for fingerprints
left around fuel doors and hoods. Install, repair and inspect your fencing
around the bus park. Make sure buses are not parked so close to fences that
it would be possible for someone to stick their hand through the fence and
touch the bus. If buses go home with drivers, have them take extra
time on inspections. Develop evacuation plans that include maximizing the
number of buses available and procuring additional buses from neighboring
schools and local churches. Do the same for extra drivers. In most schools,
a large number of drivers will be school teachers. In an emergency, the
teachers place is with their class, not driving a bus. Communication is
essential. Make sure that all drivers have a means to communicate while on
routes. Provide drivers with maps and crisis plans so that they can be
redirected while traveling and not drive into a known dangerous situation.
Do not be paranoid,
but be prepared.
If your school's
Crisis Preparedness Plan does not address these, please get help
today. If your local law enforcement agency cannot help you put these and
other terrorism related plans into action, let Keys
Once again we ask ourselves, "Have we done all that
we can to insure the safety of our schools?" Keys To Safer Schools.com
is making a special offer to any school to review your crisis planning and
provide a written critique of any shortcomings found. To take advantage of
this offer, mail your school’s Crisis Plan and supporting documents to:
Keys To Safer Schools.com
P.O. Box 296
Bryant, AR 72089-0296.
Visit the Keys website for valuable information and
resource material on school violence prevention at http://keystosaferschools.com.
Programs to Combat Violence
Keys To Safer Schools.com
you have any comments or questions please Email us at email@example.com.