Governor Pat Quinn today convened top experts from across the state for a summit to develop short and long-term actions to further safeguard schools in Illinois. The governor brought together the group of more than 50 representatives from the fields of education, public safety, mental health and law enforcement following last month's deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Today's meeting is part of the governor's ongoing commitment to ensuring safe schools in Illinois.
"Every parent should feel that their child is safe in school," Governor Quinn said. "Today we brought together teachers, school administrators, mental health experts, law enforcement and public safety officials to discuss ways to further safeguard our schools. We must continue to take every step possible to ensure our children are protected."
During the meeting at the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield, participants discussed crisis prevention, school and community planning and coordination and facility protection and security. Additional meetings of the full group or smaller working groups will be scheduled to address specific problems and develop solutions.
Today's meeting followed an initial conference call on the subject on Dec. 21, 2012, one week after the tragic shooting in Connecticut.
Organizations represented at today's summit included:
Governor Quinn's Office
Illinois Emergency Management Agency
Illinois Terrorism Task Force
Illinois State Police
Illinois State Board of Education Illinois Department of Human Services
Illinois Department of Public Health
Office of the Illinois Attorney General
Office of Senator Dick Durbin
Illinois Principals Association
Illinois Association of School Administrators
Illinois Education Association/li>
Chicago Teachers Union
Illinois Federation of Teachers
Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System
Illinois Association of School Boards
Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police
Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois
American Association of Architects
U.S. Attorney's Office
University of Illinois-Springfield Center for Public Safety and Justice
Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities
American Red Cross
Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications
Cook County Homeland Security and Emergency Management
DuPage County Sheriff's Office
Madison County Sheriff's Office
Ball-Chatham School Board and School District
Sangamon County Regional Office of Education
Illinois Math and Science Academy
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, recently rolled out a School Safety Drill Video and Computer-Based Training tutorial, which reflect best practices based on lessons learned from real life emergency events. The videos are free and currently available for distribution to public and private schools. The videos detail specific actions for administrators, teachers and support staff for each drill, based on post-incident reports and de-briefings from real school events.
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 provided more than 250 K-12 school safety planning courses attended by more than 8,600 participants representing 817 public school districts and 545 non-public 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 their capacity to respond to and recover from all hazards, including active shooters. Currently, there are 11 courses scheduled from January through March of 2013.
For more information, please visit www.ready.illinois.gov and www.isbe.net/safety.