Safety Director: time for schools to put safety first - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Safety Director: time for schools to put safety first

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GENOA, Ohio -

School Safety Dr. Amy Klinger says it's time for schools to put safety first. Dr. Klinger works with area districts to prepare them for threats and disasters and she says the Newtown school shootings should be a lesson to local schools.

"Schools have a lot of things pulling at them. They have limited resources, they have limited time, they have test scores, they have all these different accountability measures. But safety issues have to rise to the top as we saw yesterday. Test scores didn't matter yesterday. What mattered yesterday was safety."

Recently Dr. Klinger put a dozen schools' security measures to the test. Out of 12 schools, there was only one school her 24-year-old daughter was not able to gain access to.

She says the average time it took for someone to ask the stranger decoy what she was during in the school was nearly 15 minutes.

Dr. Klinger says disaster prevention needs more attention.

"We need to look at bringing our staff, our community, our students and training them to understand what needs to happen. How they need to think differently about safety. How they have ownership of safety. It's not just one person in the building who is responsible for the safety of the building."

Klinger wants school leaders, police officers, mental health professionals and parents working together to deal with threats and stop tragedies before they happen.

She says spotting behavioral red flags and communicating changes is key. Klinger says parents play a big role. They must make sure children know that to do if tragedy strikes and find a balance between scaring and preparing them.

You can learn more about school safety at The Educators School Safety Network's website.

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