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Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz Reflects on the School Safety Specialist Academy
INDIANAPOLIS – This week, more than 500 educators and law enforcement officials gathered in Indianapolis for the Indiana School Safety Specialist Academy. This readiness program is one-of-a-kind, as Indiana is the first, and currently the only, state to develop such an academy. The first days of the Academy were held on November 19-20, and attendees learned about school safety protocol, legal requirements, emergency preparedness measures, and how to create an effective school safety plan.
“The importance of this conference has been reinforced by the severe storms and unfortunate damage many schools suffered this week,” said Superintendent Ritz. “In recent years, our schools have seen an increase in internal and external threats. I’m proud that many of our Hoosier school administrators and law enforcement are well prepared to handle a myriad of emergency situations. We will continue to grow and enhance this program to give Hoosier students the best protection possible.”
Indiana law states each school corporation must have at least one official certified through the academy. However, many corporations choose to have more than one certified official. Approximately 1,900 Indiana educators and police have received training through the program.
“My experience at the School Safety Specialist Academy was very enlightening. The practitioners who presented during the two information-packed days were outstanding,” said Dr. Colleen Moran, Superintendent of North Montgomery Community School Corporation. “There are many extreme perspectives related to this sensitive topic, yet the presenters’ main message was to consider all areas of threats to schools and not to become too comfortable with predictable practices and drills. Participants were challenged to problem-solve through real-life scenarios and to continue these discussions frequently at the district and school level. I am proud to know that Indiana leads the nation is school safety training and policies.”
The Indiana School Safety Specialist Academy is in its 15th year. For more information regarding Indiana’s school safety policies, visit http://www.doe.in.gov/safety.