Lessons Learned from Ohio’s School Shootings

The following newsletter was issued by Safer Schools Ohio. The latest issue focuses on school safety, lessons learned, cyber threats against schools, upcoming training events and more.

Lessons Learned from Ohio’s School Shootings

In an effort to help peers across the state be better prepared, school administrators join together in this video to share their stories of living through a school shooting and the lessons learned from their personal experiences. Key lessons derived from these personal experiences – prepare, take action and recover – are discussed further in the hope that school administrators across Ohio will incorporate these key lessons into the planning of their own emergency management plans.

Click here(link is external) to view this video created by the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Ohio Homeland Security’s Center for P-20 Safety & Security.

Re-Evaluation Process & New Document Statuses

Compliance with ORC 3313.536 is entering its fourth year. As a result, many schools will begin a re-evaluation process in 2018, as required by the law. The date you must resubmit your school emergency management plan for re-evaluation can be found in SAFE. Re-evaluation will occur once every three years, or if you move to a new building.

Here’s what you can expect. Ohio Homeland Security will reach out to you six months prior to the resubmit date in SAFE. Initial conversation with your assigned planner will include:

Planners with Ohio Homeland Security are on standby to assist school administrators with making changes to their existing emergency plan and can be reached at (614) 644-2641 or SaferSchools@DPS.Ohio.gov(link sends e-mail). It is important to note, that changes to Ohio Administrative Code will require schools to update their emergency plans to maintain compliance with Ohio Law.

Annual Certification

The annual certification period for 2018 is open, and school administrators have until July 1, 2018 to log into SAFE and certify that their emergency plans are current. Here is what you need to do to comply with this requirement.

Review your school’s emergency management plan (all parts) and

  1. If no changes are needed to you plan, log into SAFE and enter the date of the review by clicking on “Add 2018 Date.” Click the “Save” button.
  2. If you need to makes changes, upload the changes to the relevant parts of the plan by clicking on “compliant.”Then complete “1” above.

You will know you have completed the requirement when you see the date of review on the button that reads “Add 2018 Date.”

To view the tutorial, please click here.

Cyber Threat Facing Schools

In late September and early October 2017, a cybercriminal group, known as The Dark Overlord (TDO), targeted dozens of schools by threatening violence and releasing personal information of student and school personnel if a ransom demand was not paid. This led to numerous schools to be shut down for one to three days while law enforcement investigated. It was determined that the group operates from overseas and that the threats were not credible.

Take these steps to help mitigate further attacks by this group:

  • Schools should conduct audits to ensure patches are issued for any vulnerabilities within the computer systems.
  • Firewalls and antivirus software should be installed and kept up to date to help mitigate malware from accessing the network.
  • Any suspicious activity detected on your schools’ computer network should be immediately reported to local law enforcement.
  • The ransom demand should never be paid as there is no guarantee the information will be returned to its original state.
  • School staff, students, and parents should be trained to recognize phishing emails containing malicious documents or links that could download malware that would steal personally identifiable information.
  • Passwords should be complex, containing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, that are unique to each site accessed and implement two factor authentication when possible.

Upgrades to SAFE

Support for Re-Evaluation

Resubmission and re-evaluation required a few updates to SAFE.

First, when you click under “Plan Management” you will notice a DOCUMENT STATUS. This status is new and independent from your Compliance status.

Document status provides you information on where you are in the resubmission process prior to evaluation. The compliance statuses only had a minor change.

Document Statuses Compliance Statuses
  • Not Started – zero documents in system
  • Started – at least one document uploaded regardless of date
  • Submitted – all 5 documented uploaded AND at least one document with a date less than 6 months old OR non-compliant evaluation issued.  Because the schools will need to incorporate lessons learned at each reevaluation, there will be changes every year.
  • Under Review – locked from uploaded, being evaluated by OHS
  • Evaluated – evaluation complete and compliant
  • Not-Determined – never been evaluated (applies to new schools only)
  • Non-Compliant – initially evaluated as non-compliant or the window for reevaluation has passed
  • Compliant – a current compliant evaluation less than 3 years old.
  • Expired non-compliant – previous evaluation expired prior to new compliant evaluation being completed.


Change from 4 Plan Types to 5 Plan Types

The emergency contact sheet and stakeholder signatures were previously in a single document uploaded to SAFE. We had a lot of feedback that those two different documents needed to be separate uploads. This change does not impact existing compliance, and was put in place to make it easier for schools to update emergency contact information without having to rescan local stakeholder signatures.

Schools will be required to upload the documents separately when they are due for re-evaluation.  However, school staff can incorporate the change at any time, using their current documentation. Click on “COMPLIANT” under plan management, then click “Add New Plan” in the drop down and choose the “Stakeholder Signatures” option. Finally, upload the corresponding file.

Steps to Take in Light of Recent School Shootings

Staff at the Center for P-20 Safety & Security have watched in horror and sadness at the recent shootings in Kentucky and Florida. You may ask, what can I do to ensure my school is prepared?

First, convene your behavioral health threat assessment (BHTA) team. Review cases to be sure you haven’t missed anything or if new information is added. Enact a policy, that once a student is monitored by the BHTA team, they are never off that list. If you need additional resources, contact P-20 or your local Behavioral Health Authority [INSERT LINK} https://www.oacbha.org/mappage.php(link is external)

Second, review active shooter and lockdown procedures with staff and students. Don’t be afraid to talk about the plan. During these conversations be aware of students who may be having difficulty coping and engage your school counselor or local mental health partner.

Third, partner within your community. Concerning or threatening behavior is often found both inside and outside of a school community. It is important for whole communities to work together towards school safety. Regular interaction between local law enforcement, external mental health providers, and other partners and sharing information between disciplines can help detect threats and prevent situations from unfolding.

Finally, keep parents informed with how the school prepares for active shooter situations. They are allies in helping students make good decisions if your school.

Future Training Events

OSROA Training on De-Escalation Techniques

Thursday, April 12, 2018 – Hilliard, Ohio

The Ohio School Resource Officer Association is offering training in de-escalation techniques aimed at assisting staff in school settings. The training is being taught by a school resource officer with a decade of experience working in schools as well as advanced training in Crisis Intervention and Hostage Negotiation. For more information, and to register for the course, please click here(link is external).

Safe the Date – Safe & Healthy Schools Conference

Monday, June 4, 2018 and Tuesday, June 5, 2018 – Columbus, Ohio

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Ohio Department of Education, and PreventionFIRST! will be hosting a two day conference: the Safe and Healthy Schools Conference/Leveraging State and Local resources for school improvement, student safety and effective behavioral health services. Presenters will share state and local partnerships, and practices that demonstrate a cross systems approach and comprehensive strategies for school safety to prevent and address behavioral health needs in Ohio schools.

For more information and to register, please click here(link is external).

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