Standard Response Protocol
In 2013, Hays County recognized the need for an enhanced response program for schools after an incident at one of the schools resulted in a lockdown. Following the incident, Hays County took initiative and created the School Safety Task Force. This Task Force consisted of all first responding agencies and the four school districts within Hays County. The individuals selected for this group were deemed responsible for creating a safe environment for students and teachers by piecing together a standard response protocol training program unique to the Hays County Schools.
Adapted from the “I Love You Guys” Foundation, the Hays County Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is an all hazards approach that aims to teach and train first responders, teachers, and students on the four types of responses, Lockout, Lockdown, Shelter, and Evacuate. When applied, these four actions can ensure the safety of students in a variety of dangerous situations that have the potential to manifest in a school setting. Whether that threat is a man-made or natural disaster, inside or outside of the building, the students within Hays County will know what to do and will have the capability to remain safe.
In addition to the four SRP actions, the Hays County School Safety Task Force also developed reunification plans for the schools. These plans are tactical level plans that predetermine reunification sites and processes, and consist of various interlocal agreements that permit the shared use of resources such as school facilities, buses, and staff during emergency situations.
To this day, Hays County continues to evolve and develop their school safety program through a series of routine trainings, drills, and plan maintenance.
School Safety Task Force
Greg Abbott has highlighted the work of Hays County as “…one that should be modeled across the state.” When asked about what makes the Hays County Standard Response Protocol Program unique, Abbott said, “Both the level of detail and sophistication, the planning, and organization of strategies that bring together this collaboration of multiple law enforcement and first responder agencies and the way they can work hand in hand. Basically it’s a roadmap.”