But many schools remain wide open, experts said.
Noting how schools quickly respond with detailed plans when bad weather is on the horizon, “One would think we’d be as deliberate and systematic in school response to either weather or man-made events,” said Lisa Thomas, associate director in educational issues at the American Federation of Teachers. “We haven’t seen that level of practice take place.”
But recently, one of Thomas’ colleagues in Connecticut said that her first grader came home from a response drill knowing three designated hiding places in his school. Still, other districts may have to let their crisis plans collect dust due to time and money constraints.
“Superintendents and school boards are going to have to come to grips with the fact that they’re going to have to also own some of the costs of school safety in their operating budgets,” Trump said, “and not view school safety as a grant-funded luxury.”
A large number of schools have few changes to make in the coming months – and that’s a good sign, officials said. For example, Paxton’s DiBlasi’s mother, Barbara DiBlasi, knows exactly how she would react if a gunman was reported at Plaza Middle School in Kansas City, where she is a media center specialist.
DiBlasi was trained for such an incident before Adam Lanza stepped inside Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire. He subsequently shot himself.
“The first thing I would do is lock the doors, secure the children; I would do everything I could do to keep those children safe,” DiBlasi said. “I know I’m prepared. I don’t feel anxious to send my children to school because I know the other educators in the district are prepared as well.”