Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine encourages local teams of law enforcement and educators to attend a new school safety course that will be offered around the state beginning in January and to collaborate on required school safety plans.
"Nothing is more important than keeping our children safe, and we must do everything in our power to ensure their safety while at school," Attorney General DeWine said. "In light of the horrible tragedies in Chardon and in Connecticut, the Attorney General's Office has taken a leadership role in promoting school safety and working with our partners across state government to help educators be prepared for all types of school emergencies."
The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) will offer the new course, Active Shooter Training for Educators, across Ohio in 2013. It is being made available free of charge in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), and local teams of law enforcement, teachers, and administrators are encouraged to attend together.
The first offerings are set for Jan. 17 at Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, 2080 Citygate Drive, Columbus. Two, four-hour sessions are planned, one beginning at 8 a.m. and a second at 1 p.m.
OPOTA and ODE will host additional sessions across the state throughout the year. They will listed at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/OPOTA
as information becomes available, and law enforcement can register through OPOTA. Registration also is possible through the ODE website at http://www.ode.state.oh.us/
. Click on the SAFE sign-in tab, set up an account, and register via the STARS professional development link.
The course covers the Five Phases of the Active School Shooters, as developed by noted law enforcement trainer Dan Marcou. It provides insight into shooters’ thinking and potential characteristics, offers guidance on responding to an active shooting, and covers compliance with FERPA and HIPPA laws.
OPOTA also offers Profile of an Active Shooter and First Officer Response to an Active Threat, which are specifically for law enforcement. Dates and registration information for those courses appear at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/OPOTA
"We traditionally think of first responders as law enforcement, police, and fire departments. When there is a school emergency, teachers and educators really are the first responders to our children," Attorney General DeWine said. "We need to adopt a holistic approach to make sure educators are prepared for any type of emergency or threat."
Earlier this year, Attorney General DeWine formed the Attorney General's School Safety Task Force, made up of educators, school associations, local law enforcement, and other first responders. The Attorney General plans to expand the group in partnership with ODE, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials following conversations in the aftermath of the recent Connecticut school shooting.
The Attorney General released a copy of the guidelines the task force created to help Ohio schools comply with a state requirement to submit building plans and a school safety plan to his office. The guidelines can serve as a template for schools to create or update their plans. A copy of the guidelines can be found here
and at www.OHLEG.org
Ohio Revised Code Section 3313.536 requires the board of education of each city, exempted village, and local school district and the governing authority of each chartered nonpublic school to file a comprehensive school safety plan and floor plan for each school building under the board's or governing authority's control. This information, once filed with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, is available to law enforcement through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway.
The Attorney General’s Office also took these steps in recent months to enhance school safety:
Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents and local law enforcement from Chardon offered training at the 2012 Law Enforcement Conference.
OPOTA has offered free Profile of an Active Shooter and Single Officer Response to Active Shooter trainings to law enforcement, with additional offerings scheduled for 2013.
OPOTA has offered mobile simulators to bring training on shooting scenarios to local law enforcement agencies.
In July, the Attorney General and the Department of Education co-sponsored the School Safety Summit, attended by more than 200 educators.