SPRINGFIELD – January 22, 2013. 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.