Safety Summit in Hillsboro focuses on school violence

John-Michael Keyes recalled a student's words about her school constantly practicing for fire drills but rarely preparing for an intruder's attack.

"How many kids have we lost to a fire?" Keyes asked. "How many have we lost because they are under fire?"

In fact, Keyes and his wife lost their 16-year-old daughter, Emily, during a school hostage incident in Colorado. Now, as executive director of the I Love U Guys Foundation, Keyes travels the country training schools on how to prevent and respond to violence. In particular, his foundation has developed a standard response protocol to school violence.

His presentation was part of a half-day Safety Summit on August 9 put on by the Hillsboro School District with support from PACE and Genesis Management and Insurance Services Corp. About 200 school officials attended.
"It's essential to build a bridge between law enforcement and education," Keyes said. "You've got to have those partnerships."

Keyes said he aims to keep schools safe without constantly locking kids inside a paramilitary environment.

In researching how schools plan for crisis response, Keyes said they and law enforcement officials have used a variety of terms to describe similar actions. By adopting a standard response, he said, schools can react quickly and avoid confusion, thereby saving lives.

The standard response protocol is divided into four steps: lockout, lockdown, evacuate and shelter. Each stage can have repercussions, he said.

"There are things you can do during the crisis that can mitigate the recovery process," he said.

complete description of the protocol can be found on the I Love U Guys website.