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Deadline approaching for California schools to update safety plans

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EUREKA- The California Education Code mandates schools update their Comprehensive Safe School Plans annually.  The deadline to update is March 1st. 

Laurie Alexander is the Director of Student Services for Eureka City Schools. She says school officials work to update the Comprehensive Safe School Plan continuously, regardless of Saturday’s deadline.

“For example, if particular crisis information comes out from the state and they say 'Hey, add this component,' or 'We learned this information from an event that happened throughout the nation or in our community,' we go back and revisit those,” said Alexander.

Among the most recent changes to the safety plan are having school district officials present during each school’s mandated lockdown drill, not announcing what scenario will be used for the lockdown drill until the drill is about to begin, and not telling schools the exact date and time of the drill.

"I have been a principal and observed that there was a lot of preparation getting ready for a drill and in a real situation, there wouldn't be any time for preparation, you would need to have everything right there and in place," Alexander said.

Protocols are in place for events ranging from a school shooting to a plane falling from the sky onto a school.  But officials say the most important part of updating the safety plan is focusing on prevention.  A recent update to the safety plan in that area is the implementation of the second step program, a program designed to help students develop valuable social skills they need. 

"If our students have a safe school to come to each day, then they're going to be better educated, they're going to want to be there, parents are going to want to know that children are coming to safe place, where they're safe emotionally as much as they are physically," said Alexander.

And working to keep students safe is a never-ending process.