When safety professionals recently attended an intensive training in Carson City, four Mineral County School Board members were on hand to gather effective information and further the possible safety measures best implemented into their local schools.

The Mineral County School District currently maintains a confidential, written safety protocol for school lockdowns and emergency management issues. They remain diligently involved in ongoing staff trainings with professionals, while exploring a dialogue of current practices or safety products which are continually changing within the climate of unknowns which could face students and staff members.

Speakers reviewed topics such as school layout awareness and new construction; creating proper layers of school responders and a solid safety team for the coordination of practiced directives; collaboration of community resources, mental health professionals and intervention crisis management; creation of drills and alert responses; digital threats and electronic dangers that can influence and shape school culture and integration of school safety laws, school plans, updating procedures and emergency management.

An emphasis of community partnership was the predominant thread, as many rural districts face the enormous task of unraveling past “stand alone” policies of emergency or crisis response. In today’s world, most think of safety in terms of using equipment properly, or as threats coming upon individuals or in situations of personal harm, but as several presenters pointed out, a risk can be man-made or environmental hazards, or both.

As professionals took to the stage to review their handouts and overhead graphics, it was clear that society has experienced vast changes within community and school safety, creating a vigilant concentration in counseling and with residents exercising a keener observance within their own surroundings. By reviewing actual case circumstances which surrounded specific school violence and community risk factors, it was acknowledged that an atmosphere of fear and apprehension has been created. Preventable measures are available only when information is shared and implemented into the systems which communities currently share. One is the state endorsed program called Safe to Tell, which is expanding and evolving into SafeVoice, a means of receiving anonymous reporting, much as a tip-line for students, staff, parents and community residents.

SafeVoice allows callers to report their concerns 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. The toll-free line, website or mobile app can receive information regarding possible abuse, bullying, risks of suicide or self-harm, violence, drugs and more without disclosing the concerned caller’s identification. This system was developed to assist in early detection and correct intervention within situations that could’ve escalated into a higher casualty situation. Posters and contact information is already at the schools and is available as a countywide assistance toward a safer, healthier environment for all.

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