School safety is everyone’s concern

NSU holds Candlelight Christmas Concert
November 3, 2006
Tigers beat Pats 13-8 on final drive
November 8, 2006

Louisiana Attorney General



After a two-year decline in school violence, it seems problems are surfacing again across the country. In the past several weeks, we have watched violence erupt at three schools in three different states. This has caused parents, educators and law enforcement officials to think of the safety plans our schools have in place to protect our children.



I am pleased to say that the Attorney General’s Office is able to assist any school in Louisiana with school crisis planning, crisis team training and school security assessments. Our school safety response manual, The Emergency Procedures Guide, addresses hostage situation, student-on-student violence, terrorist attacks, and biohazards.

Operation Safe Haven is a program developed by the Attorney General’s Office with the assistance of the Louisiana Department of Education, the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana and Cingular Wireless. This program is a comprehensive safe school plan developed to ensure that our state’s schools are educated on crisis prevention and are prepared and trained to handle crisis situations.



The program addresses identification of potential problems, preparation of crisis and disaster plans, and implementation of these plans for all schools and school employees.



My office has a full-time safe school coordinator that trains school personnel and law enforcement statewide on crisis prevention and response. At no charge, our coordinator offers hands on training that includes:

• District and school based training on how to prepare a comprehensive crisis plan. This plan includes roles for the Crisis Team after a critical incident.



• Technical assistance in developing and previewing the Crisis Plan.



• Organize critical incident training for all responding agencies at school sites.

• Offer school security assessments.



When a school contacts the Attorney General’s Safe School Coordinator for training, school personnel will be taught how to write a school crisis plan that includes prevention, intervention, response, aftermath, debriefing, safe school strategies and a school search reference guide. Each school that requests training will also receive an Emergency Procedure Guide, a quick reference guide to any school emergency including response strategies.



Our safe school coordinator is here to provide trainings and presentations on early warning signs of potential violence in children and the basic signs of gangs and cults in Louisiana.

Parents and educators play a critical role in keeping our children safe at school. It is critical for parents and educators to know the signs that kids are troubled. Look for signs such as:



• Lack of interest in school



• Absence of age-appropriate anger control skills

• Seeing self as always the victim

• Persistent disregard for or refusal to follow rules

• Cruelty to pets or other animals

• Artwork or writing that is bleak, violent, or that depicts isolation and anger

• Talking constantly about weapons or violence

• Obsessions with games and TV shows of a violent nature

• Depression or mood swings

• Bringing a weapon (any weapon) to school

• History of bullying

• Misplaced or unwarranted jealousy

• Involvement with or interest in gangs

• Self-isolation from family and friends

• Talking about bringing weapons to school

The safety of our schools is everyone’s concern. I urge you to schedule a school safety training session with our safe school coordinator, Sandra Ezell, as soon as possible. Contact her at 225-326-6453 or ezells@ag.state.la.us. We must work together to protect our schools and our children.

School safety is everyone’s concern