Collaborative effort debuts in Hays County
Animated Video Focuses on Helping Young Children Learn Standard Response Protocol for School Safety
Hays County, Texas – Mrs. Rabbit and her class of eager young learners are now available to help teachers in Texas and throughout the country share the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) for emergency events with students in pre-K through second grade. An animated video features the class learning in short, easily repeatable segments about each element of SRP and how to react when SRP is implemented.
“We noticed a gap in the SRP training, in that younger children might be less able to comprehend training used for older students and would enjoy and therefore pay attention more if they had an animated video geared to them,” Hays County Director of Emergency Services Kharley Smith said. Hays County collaborated with the Texas State University Institute for Government Innovation to produce the video following discussions with local stakeholders and the statewide Texas State School Safety Center.
The SRP provides a uniform response to any incident – natural or manmade – and ensures that law enforcement, first responders, school officials, teachers, and students are all using a common vocabulary and following expected actions, no matter what the threat. The SRP includes four specific actions: Lockout, Lockdown, Evacuate, and Shelter.
At the premier, John-Michael Keyes, founder and executive director of the “I Love U Guys” Foundation, the leader in developing and training schools and first responders in standardized response for emergencies, addressed the audience, noting that “school safety is a tough subject to discuss.
“We initially worked with a school district in Colorado that had 150 schools,” Keyes said. “We planned to pilot the program there, but the district’s security director determined that piloting wasn’t necessary – the school rolled out the SRP in all 150 schools.”
Keyes also related a conversation he had with one teenage student who assured him that students do understand the threats they face and that it is reassuring when adults take those threats seriously, discuss the threats with them, and have a plan for their safety.
Keyes started the “I Love U Guys” Foundation following a school shooting in 2006 that took the life of his daughter, Emily. Her final text to her family was “I Love U Guys,” and Keyes has made it his life work to ensure that schools have a standardized vocabulary and response plan that works for all emergency situations, whether an active shooter, natural disaster, fire, intruder, or other threats to safety. The Standard Response Protocol is data-driven, heavily researched, and based on experience and best practices, and reflects Keyes’ extensive collaboration with experts, including first responders, school districts, and other safety professionals.
“Every day schools face hazards that have the potential to impede the learning process,” Kathy Martinez-Prather, Director of the Texas State School Safety Center, said. “However, with proper planning and regular training and drilling in emergency procedures, schools can effectively respond in a way that increases positive outcomes. The SRP provides an adaptable framework that allows school districts to enhance their existing emergency operations plans.”
All Hays County public and private schools have adopted the SRP and hold training at least annually. Following a lockdown for two Wimberley ISD schools in 2013, County officials held meetings to determine how to implement the SRP protocol for all schools.
“Sadly, school emergencies don’t have age limits and we live in a time when all our students, even the youngest, must be prepared for any type of situation,” said Hays CISD Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright. “Our public safety partners have implemented a Standard Response Protocol for our schools and they make sure we practice and train regularly for any emergency. The new, animated training video provides a way for us to talk with our youngest students about a sensitive, but necessary, subject. This resource is an important next step in our ongoing efforts to maintain the highest standards of safety and readiness in our schools.”