By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — The Selinsgrove Area School District is getting high marks from a Center for Safe Schools representative for its collaborative approach to developing a safety plan.
Don Smith, an emergency planning and response management coordinator with the center, has been working with Selinsgrove and eight other area districts for the past few months as they put together a state required all-hazards plan for responding to natural, technological and human-made emergencies.
Though Smith said the other schools are just as diligent about safety, the Selinsgrove Area School District is further along with completing its plan and stands out because everyone — administrators, faculty and staff, as well as local emergency services — is taking an active role in it.
“That collaboration is not going on in all other districts,” Smith said.
He added that it’s important for as many people to get involved in safety training efforts because “plans don’t stop an emergency, preparedness stops an emergency. You can have the best plan, but if people don’t practice it, it won’t work.”
As a result of the commitment to developing a plan and educating all affected on how to put it in place, Selinsgrove was one of three Pennsylvania schools singled out by the Center for Safe Schools when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requested recommendations of districts to take part in a federal pilot project on school safety.
The advantage of participating in a nationwide pilot project is having the resources of the federal government and thousands of dollars worth of assessments that taxpayers won’t have to fund, Smith said.