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Proactive School Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning

Proactive School Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning

  • Kenneth S. Trump - National School Safety and Security Services, Cleveland, Ohio

April 2011 | 328 pages | Corwin

"The information in this landmark book will reduce school violence and save lives. I recommend it with the highest possible praise."
—Scott Poland, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Suicide and Violence Prevention
Nova Southeastern University Center for Psychological Studies

An all-in-one resource for keeping students safe

As concern about school safety continues to escalate, the need for heightened school security has never been more urgent. Educators want practical, cost-effective school safety strategies that come from credible sources and can be implemented quickly. Author Kenneth S. Trump has dedicated his career to making schools safer, and he delivers solutions in a concise and straightforward manner. The book begins with an overview of school security and the politics surrounding it, then provides nuts-and-bolts strategies for preventing violence and preparing for crises. The text covers today's hot topics such as:

  • Bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment
  • After-school, transportation, and athletic event security
  • Managing media and parent communications on safety and crises
  • Practical, cost-effective security and preparedness within tight budgets

Although school security can be an emotionally charged subject, this book stresses the importance of collecting data and acting rationally. Included are ideas for working with community leaders, police, parents, businesses, and political officials to improve school and community safety and security. The author's companion website keeps readers current with breaking news, free resources, and interactive dialogue on the latest developments in the school safety field.

Disclaimer and Legal Notices
Foreword by Dr. Scott Poland
About the Author
I. Understanding and Managing School Safety
1. The Evolving Threats to School Security
The School Security Threat Continuum

Internal and External Threats to School Safety

Assessing Threats and Prioritizing Risk Reduction

Roller Coaster Awareness, Policy, and Funding: The Biggest Ongoing Threat to School Safety

2. The "Politricks" of School Security
Denial, Image, and Underreporting

Awkward Circumstances Encourage Downplaying of School Safety

Reality, Not Rhetoric

3. Comprehensive School Safety Planning and Leadership
School Safety as a Leadership Issue

Getting on the Same Page

Overcoming Denial

Financial Obstacles

School Safety as a Public Relations Tool

Community Ownership

Tools for Balance

Risk Reduction Framework

II. Proactive School Security: Focusing on Fundamentals
4. School Security Assessments
Assessment Definition and Use

Assessment Expectations, Best Practices, and Levels

Who Should Assess

Avoiding a Template Approach to School Security Assessments

Focus Assessments on More Than Hardware and Manpower

Evaluation Methods and Identifying Policy-Practice Disconnects

Areas That May Be Evaluated in a School Security Assessment

Benefits of Assessing

5. School Security Strategies and Issues
Administration Building, Board Meeting, and Support Site Security

Adult-Originated Violence

After-Hours School Security: Activities and Community Use of Schools

Arming Teachers and School Staff

Athletic and Large Event Security

Bomb Threats and Suspicious Devices

Cell Phones, Camera Phones, and Text Messaging

Computer Security Measures

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Election Day Security

Elementary School Security and Aggression by Younger Students

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and School Safety


Hotlines and Other Anonymous Reporting

Lockers and Bookbags

Personal Safety

Personnel and Internal Security

Physical Security

Private, Independent, and Charter Schools

Probation Officers in Schools

School Resource Officers, School Police Departments, and School Security Departments

School Security Equipment: Metal Detectors, Cameras, and Other Technology

Sex Offenses

Student Involvement in School Safety Planning

Student Searches

Special Education and School Safety


Tasers and School-Based Police Officers


Training Staff on School Security and Emergency Preparedness

Transportation Security



Uniforms and Dress Codes


Zero Tolerance and School Discipline

6. Managing Bullying: Focusing on Supervision, Conduct Codes, School Climate, and Mental Health Strategies
Defining Bullying

Bullying: One Threat on a Broad Threat Continuum

The Mythical Attribution of Bullying as the Cause of School Shootings

Bullycide, the Media, and the Contagion Effect

Practical Anti-Bullying Strategies: Supervision, Security, Discipline, and Criminal Law

School Climate Strategies

Mental Health Support for Students

Cyberbullying and Sexting

Anti-Bullying Communication Strategies

Political Hijacking of Bullying for Broader Social and Political Interests

The Case Against Anti-Bullying Laws

7. Preparing Schools for Terrorism
The Terrorist Threat to Schools: Soft Targets

Domestic vs. International Terrorism

Overcoming the Denial, Fear, Politics, and Naysayers

Heightened Security Procedures for Schools

Biological and Chemical Threats

General Considerations in Times of Terrorism and War

8. Managing School Safety on Tight Budgets
Practical School Safety Considerations on Limited Budgets

Budgeting for School Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness

Low-Cost and No-Cost School Safety Strategies

9. Parents and School Safety
Practical Things Parents Can Do to Assess School Security and Emergency Preparedness

How Parents Can Reduce Child Safety Risks at Home

Steps Parents Can Take to Address School Safety Concerns

III. Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools
10. Early Warning Signs of Violence
Concerns and Caveats

Checklists and Gurus

We Are Federal Agents and We Are Here to Help You

Early Warning, Timely Response

Frontline Observations

Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Issues

Another Call for Common Sense

11. Assessing and Managing Threats
Threat Assessment Protocol


12. Lessons Learned From School Crisis Incidents
Be Prepared, Not Scared

Priority One: Emergency Preparedness

Prevention: An Equal Priority

Deal With Small Problems

School Climate

Overcoming Student Denial

A Switch From Snitch

Listen to Kids and Parents

Rely on Local Data

Why Suburban White Kids Kill

Train Emergency Service Personnel

Thinking Security When There Is Not a Crisis

Buyer Beware: Overnight Experts, Gurus, and Gadgets

13. Emergency Preparedness Planning and Preparation
Four Phases of Emergency Management

Normalization Nonsense

The Process

Emergency Guideline Documents

The Preparation

Pulling It All Together

14. Emergency Response and Crisis Management
Emergency Response: The First Half Hour

Roles and Responsibilities

Specific Considerations for Before, During, and After the Emergency Service Personnel Response

15. The Postcrisis Crisis: Managing Media and Parent Communications
Managing Cell Phones, Text Messaging, and Social Media

Developing Your Message: Parent Expectations After a Safety Incident

An Inside Look at The Business Side of Today's Media

Traditional School District Parent and Media Management: It Doesn't Work Today

Getting Out Front on School Safety Communications

Media Crisis Communications Guidelines

Crisis Credibility and Reputation Management

Lessons for the Media on Covering Ongoing Crises

16. Preparing for the Postcrisis Crisis: Managing Mental Health, Security, Financial, Operational Continuity, Liability, and School-Community Political Issues
Mental Health Support for Grief and Healing

Security and Emergency Preparedness Postcrisis Demands

Financial and Continuity Of Operations Plans for Crisis Response and Recovery

Litigation Preparedness

School-Community Postcrisis Politics

IV. Future Directions
17. State, Federal, and Academic Support for School Safety
State-Level Strategies

The Federal Role

Colleges of Education

Where to Now?

Recommended Readings


"Finally, a comprehensive and common sense approach to school safety with practical nuts and bolts answers. Ken's book is a must read for every school safety leader in this country regardless of their level of experience or expertise. It is the kind of book one will use as a reference book time and time again."

Chuck Hibbert, Coordinator of Safety and Transportation Services
President, Hibbert Safe School Consulting, Indianapolis, IN

"Ken Trump has written the perfect follow-up to his last book, which dealt with how schools can prevent and manage school crises. Both books should be mandatory reading for principals and superintendents. The reader may expect honest, straightforward, and useful information and concepts."

Jack Martin, retired Supervisor of Security and Chief of Police
Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis, IN

"Every educator responsible for the safety and well being of students need to learn from this practical and comprehensive resource from Ken Trump. Ken’s experience provides the reader with the critical steps to take in preventing, managing, and dealing with the aftermath of a crisis. Much of his advice deals with building relationships with school, community, and government officials - a key element in crisis communications that is often overlooked until it is too late. Superintendents need to put this book on their principals’ reading list and discuss changes for their school districts."

Rich Bagin, Executive Director
National School Public Relations Association, Rockville, MD

“Ken Trump is a tremendously valuable resource in terms of security planning and best practices in keeping our students and faculty safe. His expertise and exceptionally thoughtful grasp of the way schools work make him an outstanding consultant for both private and public schools, and I recommend his book most enthusiastically.”

William Christ, Head of School
Hathaway Brown School, Shaker Heights, Ohio

"The book addresses the history of school safety, the complex and controversial realities of today, and considerations for the future. It is simply the best investment you can make to help keep your kids safe and healthy so that they can learn more and live better."

Dr. Stephen Sroka, President
Health Education Consultants, Lakewood, OH

"The emphasis on collecting data and working with community leaders and parents fills this book with practical assessments of common problems and solutions."

James A. Cox, Editor in Chief
The Midwest Book Review, August 2011

In Proactive School Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning, Ken Trump has done a masterful job of providing an extensive and practical description of what schools need to do to help their students, staff, and campuses be safe, secure, and prepared for a wide variety of emergencies. An international expert in this area, Trump addresses such critical topics as school safety planning and leadership, school security strategies and procedures, and emergency readiness and planning. But he does this by providing the step-by-step check-lists that schools need to identify the “early warning signals” that can prevent many threats from becoming crises, and the “intervention and response” protocols that resolve and debrief these crises if they do occur. This is an essential guide for any district or school that wants to comprehensively evaluate its prevention and response system in the multifaceted areas related to school safety. The knowledge and experience reflected in this book will be relevant and should be heeded for many years to come.

Howie Knoff, President

I would like access to Instructor's supplements if available for the instructor Ken Pryor. Please advise as to the options available for powerpoint, testbanks, etc.

Mrs Sharon McElyea
EMS, Lincoln Trail College
January 25, 2013
Key features

Readers will find straight-to-the-point information on school security and emergency preparedness. The book first looks at threats to school security and the politics surrounding it, and then moves right into the nuts-and-bolts strategies for preventing violence and preparing for crises.

Updates on topics in this book will be added to the author's web site at For timely and breaking updates on current trends, hot topics, free resources, news, opinion, and interactive dialogue on the latest developments in the school safety field, visit Trump's blog at and sign-up for daily email alerts.

For instructors

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