No One Left Behind: School Emergency Planning & Students Who Have Disabilities

five young adult students with backpacks walking toward school building seen from behind

Although there have been advances in crisis training, safety drills, and strategy, inclusive safety measures for students and staff who have disabilities still have not been adequately developed. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (REMS-TA) have recommended, “Run, Hide, Fight,” if there is an active shooter. However, for the 14 percent of students with a disability in the public education system, one or all three of those recommendations are not possible (National Center for Education Statistics, 2020).

The Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council issued a new report that includes current Arizona Emergency Operations Plan laws, and the need for – and examples that support – Inclusive School Emergency Operations Planning. The goals are to increase awareness of inclusive EOPs in school communities, advocate for statewide policies and procedures that align with best practices and ensure students who have disabilities in school communities are included in planning and are prepared for emergencies.

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