The Standard Response Protocol (SRP) as a Center of Gravity
April 16, 2021 / by The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
“Everything—posters, letters to parents, teacher cards… everything [The “I Love U Guys” Foundation] provides has already been in the field and communicated through teacher training and communications.”
– Francesco (Frank) Frangella, the Director of Safety and Security for the Martin County School District in Florida
In a recent conversation with The “I Love U Guys” Foundation, Francesco (Frank) Frangella, the Director of Safety and Security for the Martin County School District in Florida, got right to the point:
“To get this right, everyone has to be involved.”
Frank knows the truth of this as well as anyone because he built his district’s crisis response based on The Foundation’s Standard Response Protocol (SRP) from the ground up. With open lines of communication, we learn a lot from folks like Frank. There’s nothing like putting our programs in use to see where and how we can improve them. School and community safety practitioners like Frank are critical nodes in our feedback loop.
Beyond that, though, we’re most pleased to learn how the SRP doesn’t just create safer communities. It brings them together.
Martin County was on edge after the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and hired Frank, a 20-year New York Police Department vet, to help. The first thing he noticed? “Before the SRP, everyone was afraid,” Frank told us. And if there’s one thing we know about fear, it’s both the result and cause of distrust. And distrust? That’s what splinters groups and communities. Frank sees that having a plan goes beyond safety protocols. It engages communities.
“Now everyone knows that we have a plan. Having a plan gives peace of mind, and lets everyone focus on their jobs and lives.” Without a plan? Uncertainty. Distrust. Distance.
No One Can Whistle a Symphony
The intent of the SRP is to begin by recognizing the many moving parts involved in responding to a crisis, and then engage them. Coordinated stakeholders means coordinated responses, which mean more efficient and faster responses. “Every second counts,” as Frank put it.
Like many safety directors in districts across the country, Frank uses a crisis alert system that coordinates alerts with the SRP’s actions. A few clicks of a button by anyone with access to the system—teachers, administrators, school resource officers (SROs)—can activate an alert. Color-coordinated strobes are tripped, as are message-aligned PA announcements. The district, and depending on the action, first responders are alerted, all with the same information.
It’s a system that necessitates upstream communication and coordinated training. As an example, Frank told us that his district “didn’t communicate with the Sheriff’s office very often. Now we’re in constant communication.”
And training? With the SRP in place, training for SROs has a focus. “Law enforcement can align with the SRP,” Frank told us. It’s like the scaffolding around which they can zero in on their unique and critical role in response to a school crisis.
We’re Stronger When We Share
The time for aligning messages in a crisis is long before a crisis ever happens. When the time comes to communicate what’s needed from school staff as well as the community—parents, volunteers, and other schools and community gathering places—Frank told us he doesn’t “have to worry about the message. Everything goes out right away, and everyone knows what we’re talking about.”
By following the SRP guidelines, Frank has communicated the terminology and actions of the SRP well ahead of time. “Everything—posters, letters to parents, teacher cards… everything [The “I Love U Guys” Foundation] provides has already been in the field and communicated through teacher training and communications.” Frank is even installing kiosks in schools that have coordinated information and safety kits for those responding in the moment.
The SRP necessitates communication. Parents are engaged, and understand what an action means. Increased communication to parents is valuable enough. But again, having a plan reduces fear. And peace of mind increases engagement.
“Most school safety companies are selling fear,” Frank told us. “Not [The Foundation]. It’s the opposite. Everyone absolutely feels safer when they know what to do.”
There’s an undeniable tangibility to having a plan. The SRP provides clear and simple talking points for parents and the community as a whole, further engaging the community around a positive and constructive plan to keep kids safe.
Teachers, staff, first responders, law enforcement, community. All orbiting around a simple center of gravity: to protect the joy of youth.
Anyone can download our safety programs at no cost—not even an email—on our website. The “I Love U Guys” Foundation offers in-depth training and presentations for school safety gatherings, both remote and in person. Contact us for more details.
Written by The "I Love U Guys" Foundation