An active shooter or armed assault in a school building or on school grounds involves one or more individuals’ intent on causing physical harm to pupils and school staff. Intruders may possess weapons or other harmful devices. In an active shooter situation, one or more subjects who are believed to be armed has used or threatened to use a weapon to inflict serious bodily injury to another person and/or continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims, their actions have demonstrated their intent to continuously harm others, and their overriding objective appears to be that of mass injury.
A. Procedures in the Event of an Active Shooter in the School or on School Grounds
1. If the Principal or designee determines there is an active shooter in the school or on school grounds he/she will immediately:
a. Order a lockdown of the school building. The notification may be a public address announcement or may be a discreet notification depending on the circumstance or situation;
b. Contact local law enforcement;
c. Inform the Superintendent of Schools;
d. Deactivate fire alarm pull stations without disengaging the fire sensors, if feasible, until law enforcement officials arrive on scene;
e. Deactivate school bell systems, if feasible, until law enforcement officials arrive on scene; and
f. Direct staff and pupils outside the building, if the active shooter is believed to be in the building, to move immediately to a predetermined evacuation assembly location and be prepared to evacuate the school site, if necessary.
2. The Principal and/or designee will also:
a. Communicate to any staff outside the building to stop pedestrians and vehicles, including school buses, from entering the school grounds;
b. Assign a staff member in the main office to maintain communication with classrooms and monitor status and, if needed, designate a staff member to meet and brief local law enforcement upon their arrival;
c. Determine, in consultation and with the approval of the Superintendent of Schools, the most appropriate means to communicate information to be released to parents, community, and media; and
d. Will allow local law enforcement officials to control the scene upon their arrival.
3. School staff members, upon receiving notice there may be an intruder or active shooter in the school building or on school grounds, will:
a. If not already confirmed, upon first indication of an intruder or armed intruder will immediately notify the Principal or designee;
b. Turn off all lights, close blinds/shades, and turn off electronic equipment;
c. Instruct pupils to be absolutely quiet and not to use any individual electronic communication device;
d. Instruct classroom occupants to get on the floor in a sitting or crouching position and direct pupils away from doors and windows wherever possible;
e. Close and lock doors and windows from inside the room, if possible;
f. Secure all staff, pupils, and visitors, including those in the hallways, behind locked doors, restrooms, gymnasiums, and other non-classroom building areas without risking their own safety or the safety of others already secure;
g. Not permit anyone to leave a secured room or area until notified by the Principal or designee or law enforcement officials; and
h. Ignore bells or alarms unless otherwise notified by the Principal or designee or law enforcement officials.
4. Any school staff member not supervising pupils at the time of the lockdown notification should go to the nearest classroom or secure area to assist other staff members with pupils. These staff members should ensure any person in hallways and other unsecured and open areas are taken to the nearest classroom and/or secured area.
5. Teachers shall take pupil attendance for the pupils within their secured area and report any additional pupils in the room and any missing pupils.
6. Office personnel should remain in the general office areas or any other area that can be secured. All office doors shall be locked and secured to prevent entrance by an outside intruder.
7. The building’s occupants should remain in lockdown condition until an announcement indicating the lockdown is over.
8. Physical education classes using outside facilities, under the direction and supervision of the teacher, shall report to the nearest school entrance and upon entering the building locate to a secure classroom or location within the building. If there is reason to believe pupils outside the school building may be at risk re-entering the building, the pupils may be directed to another secure location off school grounds and/or away from the building.
9. The school may establish a predetermined code word or procedure for a staff member to communicate with the school office or administrative staff in the event an intruder enters a classroom or other secured area.
10. The Principal or designee may establish with local law enforcement officials a notification procedure in the event an active shooter or intruder is believed to be in the school building. The notification procedure would alert law enforcement officials if a classroom or other secured area is safe and secure or if emergency assistance is needed. The procedure may be a color card system placing colored cards inside or outside doors or windows or any other procedure agreed to by the Principal and local law enforcement.
B. Procedures After Active Shooter Situation is Brought Under Control
1. After the active shooter situation has been brought under control, the Principal or designee or law enforcement officials will communicate to building occupants the active shooter situation has ended.
2. Evacuation of the building after the active shooter situation has been declared under control shall be under the direction of the Principal or designee and law enforcement officials.
3. The Principal or designee, in consultation and with the approval of the Superintendent of Schools, will coordinate family reunification procedures.
4. The school district will provide school district staff and other crisis response team members to provide counseling and support as needed.
5. The Principal or designee will debrief with local law enforcement and all other agencies involved in the active shooter situation.
6. The Superintendent of Schools, in consultation with the Principal and law enforcement officials, will determine when school can resume normal activities and will communicate this information to staff, parents, and the community.
These active shooter procedures are recommended for implementation in the event it is determined an active shooter may be in a school building or on school grounds. However, based on the circumstance or situation, the Principal or designee or law enforcement officials may modify these procedures if he/she determines modification is needed to best protect the building’s occupants.
Critical Incident Response Procedures for School Administrators, Faculty and Staff – The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the New Jersey Department of Education – 2010
Adopted: February 2011