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Terrorism and Schools


Impact on Montgomery County Public Schools ... Fairfax County, Virginia. Number of Schools: 241. Students: 166,601. the most prepared district ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Terrorism and Schools

Terrorism and Schools
  • Mitigation
  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery

April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City
September 11, 2001 New York
September 11, 2001 Washington DC
International Terrorism SchoolsWhich of these
countries has experienced acts of terrorism
specifically directed at schools?
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Turkey
  • Japan
  • Spain
  • Northern Ireland
  • France
  • Israel
  • United States

International Terrorism Schools
  • Israel
  • 1974 attack - terrorists took over the school.
    22 died, many injured
  • Professional guards in every school since 1992
    school security is responsibility of Israel
  • Threats suicide bombers, car bombs, close or
    long-range shooters, bombs placed in or near a
    school, terrorists taking hostages in a school
  • Turkey
  • Between 1984 1997, 146 teachers were killed,
    373 schools destroyed, and many children died as
    direct result of terrorism
  • Walls have been constructed around schools
    crisis centers have been set up
  • Threats come mainly from terrorists who live and
    train in Turkey

July 15, 1976 Chowchilla, California
May 21, 1998 Springfield, Oregon
April 20, 1999 Littleton, Colorado
October 2002 Washington DC
  • Everyone, everywhere was a
  • potential victim. No one was excluded.
  • --FBI Special Agent Mark Hilts

Sniper ShootingsImpact on Montgomery County
Public Schools
  • Shootings significantly impacted the safety and
    security of the MCPS including students, staff,
    parents and the school community
  • 14 area shootings 10 homicides, 3 wounded
  • 6 homicides occurred in Montgomery County
  • 5 on October 2 - 3
  • 1 on October 22
  • On Oct. 7 a 13-year-old Prince Georges County
    student was shot in front of school

Key Decisions - October 3
  • Superintendent declared a district-wide Code Blue
  • (in effect Oct 3 - Oct 28)
  • School on-site emergency teams were activated
  • ALL outdoor activities, recess, extracurricular
    activities, open lunch, and field trips were
  • Normal school dismissal occurred with police
  • MCPS/police liaison assigned to share critical

Key Decisions - October 3
  • MCPS crisis teams were dispatched to help provide
    mental health support and outreach services
  • Superintendent convened MCPS command team two to
    three times each day
  • District activated the Incident Command System
    emergency response plan
  • Police officers, firefighters and federal agents
    provided security presence AM and PM
  • FBI tactical helicopters flew low above schools

Key Decisions - October 7
  • Tasker Middle School student shot outside school
    in Prince Georges County, Maryland.
  • Reunification plan was put into operation
  • Superintendent sent letter to all parents
  • Student safety patrols were prohibited
  • More than 1,000 community members risked their
    lives volunteering to perform school crossing
  • State troopers were assigned to schools

Key Events - Oct 22
  • Bus driver shot and killed while getting off bus
  • Parents afraid to send their children to school
  • Code Blue continued
  • School counselors, psychologists and crisis
    response teams continued to visit schools
  • Stress debriefings held with many staff

October 22
  • Sniper note was released
  • Your children are not safe anywhere at anytime.

Impact on activities/athletics
  • All outdoor sporting practices and activities
    were suspended
  • 20,000 youth league contests canceled
  • 1,102 high school games canceled
  • 5,475 practices canceled
  • High school gate receipts lost 250,000
  • Regional playoffs rescheduled for 5 sports

Cornerstones of success
  • Careful planning and preparation
  • Defining roles and responsibilities
  • Managing information efficiently
  • Maintaining effective communication
  • Relationships, relationships

It Wont Happen Here
  • Preparation is the responsibility of every
    school, community, and state
  • No region of the country is safe from the impact
    of terror
  • TOPOFF 2 exercises raised questions

What is Terrorism?
  • The perpetration of a destructive act to inflict
    harm through
  • damage to infrastructure,
  • disruption of economy, or
  • direct injury to humans, plants, or animals
  • Terrorism seeks to create fear and insecurity
    resulting in long-term negative impacts

Goals and Motivations
  • The goals may be not only to harm specific high
    profile or essential targets but also to spread
    panic and fear throughout the population as a
  • The motivations may be to further a political
    view or goal, to protest against a policy or an
    activity, or to try to effect a social change.

Weapons Used by Terrorists
  • The Murrah Building of Oklahoma City detonation
    of a bomb
  • World Trade Center Towers conversion of jet
    aircraft into guided missiles
  • Smaller scale attacks bombs hidden in dumpsters
    or cars and assassinations through use of
    high-powered rifles
  • potential of terrorists employing Weapons of
    Mass Destruction

Radiological Terrorism
  • Nuclear weapons
  • dirty bombs

Chemical Terrorism
  • Blood Agent (Cyanide), Incapacitating Agents
    (Anticholinergic compounds), Nerve Agents
    (Sarin), Riot-control Agents (Tear gas, Pepper
    Spray), Vesicants (Sulfur Mustard)
  • Sources
  • trucks transporting volatile solvents or
  • stockpiles of chemical warfare agents
  • Sarin gas attack in Tokyo Subway in 1994

Biological Terrorism
  • anthrax, plague, smallpox
  • All have a high level of mortality or morbidity
    (serious symptoms of disease)
  • Some have no specific treatment
  • Some have no vaccine
  • Most can be easily delivered to victims via a
    respiratory route (i.e., inhalation)
  • All require both immediate public health
    intervention for those exposed and expert medical

Application to Natural Events
  • not every school district will become the target
    of a terrorist attack
  • have connections with public health department
    and hospitals
  • the preparation also applies to accidents or
    natural disease outbreaks
  • radioactive waste is transported
  • toxic chemicals are stored
  • pandemic influenza might occur

  • Reducing the chance that terrorism will lead to a
    disaster in schools

Getting Started
  • Many schools do not need new plans
  • Few plans address how the school fits in with the
    larger public health and emergency management
    response to a community-wide event, such as a
    terrorist attack.
  • Some parts of existing plans might need to be
    expanded or revised

Comprehensive Safe Schools Planning Model
Re-establish Normal Functioning
Adapted from Office of Supt. Of Public
Instruction, Olympia, Washington 2005
Comprehensive Safe Schools Planning
  • To promote a supportive learning environment for
    all schools, OSPI has advanced the notion of
    Comprehensive Safe Schools Planning, including
    local assessments of
  • p Physical plant
  • p Human Resources
  • p Administrative Policies and Procedures
  • p Student and Parent Involvement
  • p Curriculum and Instruction
  • p Community Agency Partnerships (law
    enforcement, fire, emergency medical
    services, social and mental health
  • Adapted from Office of Supt. Of Public
    Instruction, Olympia, Washington 2005

School Emergency Response Plans Should Include
  • Evacuation and back up evacuation plans
    developed, reviewed and drilled.
  • Shelter-in-place plans developed, reviewed and
  • Lockdown plans, coordinated with local law
    enforcement, fire, and EMS, and drilled on a
    regular basis.
  • Fire and earthquake drills, conducted on a
    regular basis.
  • Office of Supt. Of Public Instruction, Olympia,
    Washington 2005

Assessment of Buildings and Grounds
  • understand the pattern of airflow through
  • Assess hazards in the surrounding neighborhoods

National Advisory Committee on Children and
  • June 12, 2002 - June 12, 2003
  • Public Health Security and Bioterrorism
    Preparedness and Response Act of 2002
  • Recommendations to the Department of Health and
    Human Services related to terrorism and its
    impact on children
  • The preparedness of the healthcare system to
    respond to terrorism/children
  • Needed changes in healthcare and emergency
    medical services
  • Changes, if necessary, to the National Strategic
    Stockpile (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies
    for a national emergency)

What is Currently Being Done?
  • School Food Biosecurity Guidelines
  • International Forum on Response to Terrorism
  • Threat Assessment in Schools a Guide to Managing
    Threatening Situations and to Creating a Safe
    School Climate
  • Bomb Threat Guide

What are the Gaps?
  • make schools safer without turning them into
    places where children would not want to be
  • link policies and practices to other areas of
    school health
  • link schools or districts with public health
    agencies to improve data collection and analysis
  • help students understand the root causes and
    history of terrorism
  • teach students the skills, such as conflict
    resolution, prosocial behaviors and
    problem-solving that might lead to a decrease in
    violence in their world

  • Planning how to respond when an emergency or
    disaster occurs

What is Currently Being Done?
  • US Department of Education website for emergency
    preparedness www.ed.gov/emergency plan
  • Federal funds to help school districts improve
    and strengthen emergency response FY 2004 30
  • Practical Information on Crisis Planning a
    Guide for Schools and Communities May 2003
  • CDC funds education and health agencies
  • FEMA The Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for
    Schools Independent Study Course
  • FEMA for Kids, www.fema.gov/kids

What are the Gaps?
  • No coordination between preparedness activities
  • Few activities are designed to foster
    collaboration between education, public health,
    and other emergency responders at the state or
    local level
  • School plans are often treated as a separate plan
    rather than as part of the community plan
  • School plans tend not to be practiced as part of
    larger community preparedness exercises.

Oklahoma City -- Lessons Learned
  • Contingency planning contributes to an effective
  • Lessons learned also apply to natural disasters,
    industrial accidents and other catastrophes
  • If disaster planning is part of the rhythm of a
    community, lives will be saved.

Planning for the Unthinkable
  • Have a Plan
  • Test Your Plan
  • Share Your Plan
  • Repeat Exercises... and Then Do It Again
  • If You Cant Afford Repeated Exercises, At Least
    Review Your Plans
  • Forge Relationships
  • Prepare Lists of Vendors and Service Providers

  • Communication technologythe physical ability to
    send and receive a message
  • Disasters Overwhelm Telephone Networks
  • Provide Alternate Communication Methods
  • Use the Internet
  • Consider Interoperability of Radio Equipment
  • Use Mass Media as an Alternate Means
  • Social communicationthe content of the message
  • Avoid Jargon
  • Keep Your Workers Informed
  • Communicate Among Agencies
  • Have Up-to-date Contact Information

  • Use them to inform and educate
  • You cannot over-plan for dealing with the Media
  • Plan for a credentialing system
  • Who says what?
  • Set a schedule
  • Use Media to your advantage
  • Use the Media to make public announcements

The Media will get their story
Sample School Personnel Roles
The America Prepared Campaign
  • Preparedness in Americas Schools A
    Comprehensive Look at Terrorism Preparedness in
    Americas Twenty Largest School Districts

The America Prepared Campaign
  • Non-profit, non-partisan initiative
  • Began in 2003
  • Board of Directors and 14 national experts in
    emergency preparedness, media, marketing,
    government, and business
  • Funded by Alfred P. Sloan and John D. Catherine
    T. MacArthur Foundations

The Standard
  • US Department of Education Practical Information
    on Crisis Planning A Guide For Schools and
  • America Prepared rated the largest 20 school
    districts in US in relation to their Preparedness
  • Planning
  • Drilling
  • Communicating
  • Best/Good/Needs Improvement/Failing

  • Planning comprehensive response to a terrorist
    attack or major natural disaster
  • Drills conduct monthly drills of that plan
  • Communication communicate to parents the
    pertinent details of the plan parents should
    know procedure for reuniting with children

The Results
  • BEST (3) has comprehensive and sensible
    emergency plan that deals directly with terrorist
    threats has necessary supplies on hand
  • GOOD (7) has made significant progress toward
    the goal of preparedness while still needing some
    significant improvements
  • NEEDS IMPROVEMENT (7)needs serious action in
    one or more areas
  • FAILING (2)has performed unsatisfactorily in
    all three areas planning, drilling and

Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Number of Schools 241
  • Students 166,601
  • the most prepared district
  • exhaustive emergency plan
  • have some of the supplies kits with flashlights
    and first aid kits
  • Model for DOE
  • templates for schools
  • communication templates for teachers and
  • plan defines key roles
  • planned response actions for terrorist
  • continually perform drills (table-tops once a
    year with police fire and tornado drills
    walkthroughs of shelter-in-place and lockdowns)
  • information on website in seven languages --
    specific information about what parents should do
    in an emergency

Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Number of Schools 190
  • Number of Students 139,203
  • model of preparedness
  • exemplary multi-hazard crisis plan
  • comprehensive checklist for schools
  • communicate details of the parent/child
    reunification process to parents
  • emergency codes used in Montgomery Code Red,
    Code Blue, and Code Blue Shelter-in-Place
  • guidance on suspected chemical, biological, and
    radiological incidents
  • two code red and two code blue drills a year, in
    addition to 10 fire drills
  • www.schoolsout.com

Chicago, Illinois
  • Number of Schools 613
  • Students 434,419
  • Failing grade
  • 25 percent of schools do not have an emergency
    plan of any kind
  • Another 50 percent of plans are inadequate
  • School district, Police and Fire departments do
    not work together in planning
  • No back-up communication system
  • Parents are poorly informed
  • No special supplies in the school
  • Drills only include fire drills
  • No guidance on suspected chemical, biological,
    and radiological incidents

  • Providing emergency assistance immediately
    following a disaster

What is Currently Being Done?
  • CDCs Public Health Preparedness and Response for
  • The Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS)
  • Dept of ED program to certify teachers and other
    school staff in first aid.

What are the Gaps?
  • Lack of coordination and communication between
    public health, education, and other first
  • State and local education agencies are not
    included on terrorism response planning
  • Little attention has been given to the
    possibility that students might need to be
    quarantined at school. Schools and other first
    responders must be able to immediately address
    parent concerns about their childrens health and

Incident Command System
  • Assures uniformity of command structure used by
    various responding parties
  • Provides for common, easily understood language
  • Promotes a manageable span of command (typically
    no more than seven individuals reporting to one
  • Coordinates use of resources
  • Arranges for safety of responders
  • Coordinates messages to the public and the media

September 11, 2001
  • I learned an important lesson on that daythat I
    could only run as fast as my slowest child.
  • Teacher, P.S. 234 New York City

Uncommon Sense, Uncommon Courage
  • How the New York City School System, Its
    Teachers, Leadership, and Students Responded to
    the Terror of September 11

The Report
  • Decision Making
  • Transportation
  • Facilities and Support
  • Food Services
  • Communication
  • Curriculum
  • Mental Health
  • FiscalStudent Safety
  • Key Findings

  • 846 am Plane hits Tower 1 WTC
  • 902 Plane hits Tower 2 WTC schools in
    immediate area evacuate
  • 921 subways and busses are disrupted bridges
    and tunnels closed
  • 959 South tower 2 collapses
  • 1029 North tower 1 collapses airspace shut
  • 957 pm closed schools next day
  • 100 am (9/12) all students accounted for

The scene
  • 8 public schools within 1/4 mile of Ground Zero
    5 were in immediate danger
  • 9,000 students ages 3 - 18 ALL were evacuated
    without injury
  • ALL 1.1 million students in every part of the
    city got home safety
  • 2,800 people died in the towers, including 343
    FDNY and 60 NYPD personnel
  • 1,493 students lost someone in their family
  • Many of the 9,000 witnessed the collapse of the

Disaster planning was key
  • Effective decision making is critical
  • Emergency response plans must be dynamic
  • The safety and well-being of responders must be a
  • Communications will be compromised
  • Resources will be stressed
  • The recovery phase usually lasts longer than once
    can predict

Decision Making
  • Safe evacuation of all accomplished through
    on-the-ground decision making
  • Responding to the unthinkable requires
    intelligence, creativity, and courage
  • Fire drills were key
  • Follow plans
  • Change plans

More decisions
  • How students reached safety
  • Fears that children were in danger, injured or
  • Terrorism promotes a particular kind of chaos
  • Consider geography in plans

  • Technological interruptions/failures
  • Keep communication flowing
  • Communication into the BOE
  • Communication from the BOE
  • Keeping children safe and getting them reunited
    with their families was the underlying message
    that drove all communication on 9/11.

Communication Recommendations
  • Communicate safety plans with parents
  • Share with other emergency responders the
    complete safety plans
  • Have three redundant systems of communication
  • Coordinate these systems with emergency response
  • Plan process to communicate with the media
  • Have single and approved source of information

No one is ready for something like this.
Harold O. Levy, Chancellor
High School of Leadership and Public Service
Ada Dolch, Principal
  • A leader who saw a situation, assessed it and
    engaged in on-the-ground decision making
  • A thorough knowledge of the physical layout
  • Tools of communication - walkie-talkies
  • A well informed and talented professional staff
  • Well developed evacuation plan that had been
  • A disciplined group of students who knew how to
    follow directives
  • A leader who advocated on behalf of her community

Table - top Exercise
  • Form into groups of 4-6 participants.
  • You are the school crisis team for Anywhere
    Elementary School (grades K - 5 300 students).
    The principal has called you together as the
    crisis team one evening at 700 PM. The
    principal tells you that one of your 3rd grade
    students, Emily, has been found murdered in the
    park one block from your school. The news will
    be reported on the 1100 PM news broadcast. The
    family has been notified.
  • What plans will you make to support the students
    and staff the following day at school?
  • Who will be impacted? What emotions will you

Exercise, part 2
  • Additional news it is now 2 weeks after the
    murder. No suspect has been arrested though
    there has been extensive media coverage.
  • A second elementary age student, from a different
    school in the area, is found murdered. There are
    no witnesses and no leads to the suspect.
  • What additional steps does your crisis team take
    to ensure the safety of your students?
  • How does this second murder impact the students
    and staff at your school?

  • Restoring people to physical and mental health
    restoring vital systems

What is Currently Being Done?
  • Project School Emergency Response to Violence
    (Project SERV)
  • Guide for Intermediate and Long-Term Mental
    Health Services after School-Related Violent
  • Coping with Traumatic Events, Tips for Teachers
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
  • Trauma Information Pamphlet for Teachers

What are the Gaps?
  • Only a small percentage of children in the United
    States receive the mental health treatment they
  • Lack of information on baseline mental health of
    children in the absence of a terrorist event.
  • Anxious or ill children do not learn well
  • Little information is available to help school
    officials understand what remediation actions are
    needed after a terrorist event

Emotional Responses to Terror/Trauma
  • Fear
  • Loss of control
  • Anger
  • Loss of stability
  • Confusion
  • National Association of School Psychologists

9/11 A long road to recovery
  • Occurred during regular school hours thus causing
    immediate and severe psychological trauma -
    students and staff
  • 1600 students and 900 staff members lost family
  • Great potential for post traumatic stress
    disorder syndrome

The Partnership for the Recovery in New York
City Schools
  • Within 24 hours, recommendations given on
  • how to explain the factual details of the
  • how to reassure children of their and their
    families safety
  • how to connect childrens individual grief and
    feelings of loss with the grief and feelings of
    loss of their communities
  • Resource guides provided to both parents and
    teachers on how to deal with and recognize the
    effects of trauma
  • Personal letters of condolence

Expanded mental health services
  • FEMAs 60-day grant included grief counseling,
    individual and group interventions, and the
    development of multi-disciplinary approaches to
  • Direct services to children and families provided
    via a tier system school-based services referred
    people to community-based organizations and to
  • Many mental health professionals offered their
    services pro bono
  • 5 million US Dept. of Ed Project SERV grant
  • Quality control considerations

Additional mental health support
  • debriefing session with Board of Education
  • mental health assessment comprised of a sample of
    10,000 children
  • PTSD symptoms major depression, general anxiety,
    agoraphobia, separation anxiety, and conduct

  • To foster a deeper comprehension about the events
    of 9/11, in terms of grief and loss, and ward off
    violence toward those who were Muslim or appeared
    to be Muslim.
  • Goals
  • help students handle the grief and anger
  • work with concepts of conflict resolution
  • to develop a context of learning around the

NYC Two Years Later
  • Keep kids safe and they will be able to learn
  • Ada Dolch, Principal
  • High School of Leadership and Public Service at
    Ground Zero

We need to be better prepared much better
prepared than we are now. Gregory Thomas,
Director, National Center for Disaster
  • Deeper and more professional ties with emergency
    management officials.
  • The allocation of appropriate budgets to safety
    departments. A moratorium on budget cuts for a
    2-3 year period.
  • The development of training materials tailored
    for principals, assistant principals, teachers,
    staff and children.

Gregory Thomas, Director, National Center for
Disaster Preparedness
  • Sharing of knowledge on a coordinated basis by
    those individuals directly involved in 9/11 as
    well as in other school based disasters, like
    school shootings.
  • The engagement of parents, and community in
    planning and preparedness with specific reference
    to their role in ensuring the safety and
    wellbeing of the students.

What weve learned.
  • While we may not be able to prevent every major
    crisis, we can take actions to minimize the
  • Major crises natural and manmade have a
    significant impact on schools, even when not
    directed at schools
  • Dealing with mental health issues of students and
    staff is essential to the recovery process
  • Every school must have a multi-hazard safety

What weve learned.
  • Schools need to foster linkages with communities
    fire, police, mental health, victim services
  • Practice makes perfect. Make schools a part of
    larger community drills.
  • Plan ahead. Things can be done today that will
    help you tomorrow.
  • Keeping schools safe is hard work!

Our Challenge
  • We have to go after this with an attitude that
    terrorism will happen again. It is not the
    question of if anymore, but the question of what
    the next event is going to be.
  • By preparing for the imaginable we prepare for
  • Gregory Thomas, Director, National Center for
    Disaster Preparedness (2004)

National Association of School PsychologistsTerro
rism Workgroup
  • Cathy Kennedy Paine, Chair. Special Services
    Coordinator, Springfield School District,
    Springfield, Oregon
  • Craig Apperson, Program Supervisor, School Safety
    Security Programs, Washington State Office of
    Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia,
  • Jenny Wildy, School Psychology Graduate Student,
    Eastern Kentucky University
  • Ralph E. (Gene) Cash, Ph.D., Associate Professor,
    Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale,

Sources used in this presentation
  • Apperson, C.D. OSPI Learning and Teaching
    Support. http//www.k12.wa.us/Safetycenter/
  • Brill, Steven, and Phinney, Allison. (2004)
    Preparedness in Americas Schools A
    Comprehensive Look at Terrorism Preparedness in
    Americas Largest School Districts. America
    Preparedness Campaign, Inc.
  • Brock, S.E., Sandoval, J., and Lewis, S. (2001)
    Preparing for Crises in the Schools, second
    edition. New York John Wiley Sons, Inc.
  • Degnan, A. N. , (2004) Uncommon Sense, Uncommon
    Courage How the New York City School System, Its
    Teacher, Leadership, and Students Responded to
    the Terror of September 11. New York Columbia
    University Mailman School of Public Health.
  • Diaz, A. (2003) National Advisory Committee on
    Children and Terrorism Recommendations to the
    Secretary. Atlanta, Georgia Centers for Disease
  • Ingraham, L.M. (2003) Terrorism Supplement to the
    Checklist for a Safe and Secure School
    Environment. Indiana Department of Education.
  • International Meeting on Helping Schools Prepare
    for and respond to Terrorist Attacks. February
    13-14, 2002. Washington, D.C.
  • Murphy, G.R., Davies, H.J., and Plotkin, M.
    (2004) Managing a Multijurisdictional Case
    Identifying the Lessons Learned from the Sniper
    Investigation. Washington D.C Police Executive
    Research Forum.
  • Practical Information of Crisis Planning A Guide
    for Schools and Commuinities. (2003) U.S.
    Department of Education. www.ed.gov/emergencyplan
  • Schools and Terrorism. (2003) A Supplement to
    the National Advisory Committee on Children and
    Terrorism Recommendations to the Secretary.
    Atlanta, Georgia Centers for Disease Control.
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