New report analyzes shooting at Fern Creek High, offers recommendations
Banks has since been indicted on six adult charges, including unlawful possession of a weapon on school property and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.
The 11-page report, some of which was redacted by JCPS, examines possible lapses in security that led to the shooting, as well as the school's response after the shooting took place.
Click HERE to view a copy of the report.
According to the report, Banks was able to bring "a weapon into Fern Creek High School and carry it on his person unchallenged for approximately two hours."
The report offers several recommendations to improve security at the school. Some of them included:
1) A standardized dress code that would be enforced across all JCPS schools. One suggested dress code would require that all backpacks and loose-fitting jackets be left in the student's locker, and that all shirts, blouses and sweaters be tucked in. Students would also be required to wear pants that fit, along with belts. This would have to be a decision made by the school's site-based council.
2) Increasing the number of lockdown drills required for all JCPS schools. The report states that currently only two such drills are required for all schools.
3) Reducing the likelihood that reporters will be able to contact and interview student witnesses before the police do.
4) Develop better ingress and egress routes to and from the schools -- routes that avoid bottlenecks.
The report identifies several positive and negative aspects of the school's response to the shooting. For example, it states that a school resource officer responded to the school's third floor, where the shooting occurred, one minute after the shooting. The report says the student resource officer's quick response demonstrates the value of having such officers assigned to schools.
At the same time, the report notes that the "One Call Now" alert texting system did not alert all of its intended recipients because many users did not opt in to the service. The report recommends increased training for users of the system.
Additionally, the report suggests that schools sharing common campus areas should develop a protocol where schools are able to alert one another of possible threats. The protocol would involve school principals, assistant principals, counselors and plant operators. Notifying the various officials during an emergency would provide a means of insuring that multiple notifications are received during threatening situations, according to the report.
The topic of student release procedures also came up in the report. The report questions the necessity of having parents or guardians sign out students who are independent enough to either walk on their own or drive home from school grounds. The report suggests a re-evaluation of student release procedures for all JCPS high schools.
Findings state, "Fern Creek experienced the same failures that other schools have experienced when emergency responders respond to a school for a significant incident." The lapse was owed to a "failure in command and coordination due to failure to use the Incident Command System protocols, especially a formal command post."
The report states it was not clear who the "Operations Section Chief" was for such an emergency, or if any special groups had been created to handle an emergency situation on the caliber of a shooting.
It is suggested that for future situations, JCPS security should report an established "Command Post" and serve as liaison officers. It is also suggested that schools now have Building Level Incident Management teams, as well as identified chains of command for how to handle crises.
One lapse in security identified in the report was that the principal of Fern Creek Elementary was told by a messenger from the command post to release car riding students. However, according to the report, this same information was not relayed to other police officials at the scene. This lack of communication is attributed to a "coordination failure" inside the command post.
The report suggests that all school administrators undergo additional training handling the "Incident Commander System."
It also states that in addition to each school's planned student and parent reunification site, there should also be an alternate site located off property, preferably owned by the district.
It is suggested that it become a standard practice to announce to all parents that all injured students are accounted for and that all of those students' parents are notified in cases of emergency.
The report states that a more structured social media plan needs to be in place for emergency situations.
Approval is pending for plans to approve notification to all school principals and assistant principals who could potentially be affected by threatening situations.
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