Rhode Island Mandates School Safety Plans, Evacuation Drills

Feb 19, 2018

The deadly school shooting in Florida last week highlighted concerns over how schools protect teachers and students. The Ocean State mandates school safety plans, in coordination with multiple agencies.

State law requires all public schools to create such plans with the State department of emergency management, state police and the state fire marshal. Those plans are required to include procedures for evacuation, sheltering and addressing medical needs.

However Tim Duffy, head of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees says some older school buildings could be improved for greater safety.

“The older buildings you have entrances and exits that are located much further from the central offices where people get buzzed in and buzzed out, and that presents problems,” said Duffy.

Duffy added that schools may consider adopting cellphone apps which would contact law enforcement.

“Programs that alert law enforcement, or allow teachers and students to alert law enforcement when an incident occurs,” said Duffy. “And it might be an outside shooter coming into the school system, might be a fight between students.”

Additionally, all schools in Rhode Island are required to conduct at least four emergency evacuation drills each year.