Governor directs state agencies to further strengthen school
emergency response and prevention
safety video to be released in early January
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[December 19, 2012]
CHICAGO -- Gov. Pat Quinn announced on
Tuesday that the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois
State Police, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other
state agencies will review existing programs for student protection
and determine whether improvements can be made. Following the recent
horrific massacre in Newtown, Conn., state agencies in Illinois will
work together to assist local school districts and local law
enforcement in the review to aid in emergency response planning and
ensure they can provide support to local jurisdictions in a timely
and efficient manner.
The directive is part of the governor's ongoing commitment to ensuring safe
schools in Illinois.
"We want the parents of Illinois to know their children
are as safe as possible when they are at school," Quinn said. "Illinois has
increased emergency preparedness and collaboration between local police and
schools in recent years, but we must continue to take every step possible to
make our schools even safer. This coordinated effort will assist local police
and school officials to make sure our students are protected."
In the coming weeks, the governor will convene experts from the state and
local public safety, education, public health and mental health agencies to
discuss violence prevention and response strategies.
In addition, the School and Campus Security Training Program, a cooperative
effort of the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Terrorism Task Force
and the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, will soon roll out a video and
computer-based tutorial on school safety drills, reflecting best practices based
on lessons learned from real-life emergency events. The videos will be free and
available for distribution to public and private schools by early January. The
videos detail specific actions for administrators, teachers and support staff
for each drill, based on post-incident reports and debriefings from real school
Since 2009, schools in Illinois have been required to perform an emergency
drill at least once per year. In addition, schools must have emergency and
crisis plans in place and review them annually.
Since 2005, the School and Campus Security Training Program has provided more
than 250 K-12 school safety planning courses attended by more than 8,600
participants representing 817 public school districts and 545 nonpublic schools.
In 2012 the program delivered 55 preparedness training courses for both K-12 and
higher education institutions, which were attended by 1,486 participants, to
update emergency operations plans and increase schools' capacity to respond to
and recover from all hazards, including active shooters. Currently, there are 11
courses scheduled from January through March.
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"School-based emergency management teams, with plenty of backup
members, have become a standard part of education," said State
Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "Efforts to keep
our students safe require districts to build and maintain close
relationships with their community responders as they run the law
enforcement drills required under the School Safety Drill Act."
While significant focus is on planning and preparation to respond
to emergency situations, state laws and services also address
threats to students' social and emotional health with requirements
to address bullying. The Illinois State Board of Education works
with partners to provide statewide workshops on school safety and
administers federal funds aimed at keeping students safe.
In 2004, Illinois became the first state in the nation to require
all school districts to teach social and emotional skills as part of
their curriculum and daily school life, from lunchroom interactions
to after-school activities. As part of these classes, students are
required to meet certain benchmarks -- such as recognizing and
managing feelings, building empathy, and making responsible
For more information, visit
news release from the Illinois Government News Network; received
from the Logan County Emergency Management Agency]