Safe Schools Toolkit now available for school leaders

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By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Education has streamlined its school safety notebook.

The notebook has been replaced with an online reporting toolkit, Department of Education Coordinator of the Division of Leader System Support Stephanie Hayes recently told members of the state Board of Education.

“There are different tools that we have provided so they know how to respond to different crisis situations,” Hayes said.

All West Virginia public schools are required to take part in what’s called Safe and Supportive Schools reporting each fall. The new toolkit gives school leaders guidelines on that reporting.

“There are all different materials so schools have access to this resource so they know what the best practices are and then develop it according to what fits with their school,” Hayes said.

The toolkit also deals with preventive measures.

“There are a lot of resources around creating a positive culture and climate, prevention resources,” Hayes said.

The toolkit is designed to provide information for schools to be prepared for an incident no one wants to happen. Hayes said familiarity with the toolkit will benefit school leaders.

“It’s important for them to be familiar with the resources that we’ve provided in this toolkit so they know what the best practices are but they really need to apply that to their particular situation and work with the local law enforcement so they can get feedback and a communication plan and everybody is on the same page,” Hayes said.

The toolkit provides information about policy and laws, crisis prevention, crisis planning, safety schools helpline, student threat assessments, crisis recovery along with providing training resources.