NJ Schools Facing Surprise Security Inspections [AUDIO]
In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting tragedy last month, state education officials in New Jersey are planning a series of surprise security inspections at schools across the Garden State.
Barbara Morgan, the Director of Communications and Media Relations for the New Jersey Department of Education, says, "Since the winter of 2010 we have been conducting drill assessments statewide, and what these additional visits are going to do is be an enhancement of what we have already been working on in this state. In New Jersey, we feel we have some of the strongest school security and safety policies in the entire country, which includes requirements that districts do one drill assessment a month and that they're required to hold a minimum of two of a variety of drills annually, and that includes active shooters, a non fire evacuation, bomb threats and lock-downs."
She says, "As we know most emergencies are unannounced, and it is important for people to be ready and prepared for such situations…We said we were going to do this, but there is still some final determinations on what is going to be included in the checklist for what they're looking for…This is about on-going conversations with districts and schools about their needs and their preparedness- it's not a "gotcha plan" - it is really about conversations."
Morgan adds, once the inspections are complete, feedback about the drills will be given to local school officials.
"You know when you did this, this could have been done better, or when you implemented this aspect this is something you want to think about…There will be conversations with Principals, they happen with teachers, they happen with the heads of the Districts- it's about providing feedback and information for Districts so they feel they are prepared in times of emergency…We want our parents to feel safe about sending their kids off to school every day."
The inspections will take place for the next several weeks.