Training among the recommendations made by task force on Wyoming school safety and security


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CHEYENNE, Wyoming — The state plans to provide special training this fall to help local school districts prevent the type of school shootings that have occurred in other states.

The training includes how to handle in-school shootings and how to identify a person who might be a danger to a school and students.

"There's also a mental-health training piece that we're trying to coordinate as well as another standard-response protocol training," said Dave Simkins, emergency preparedness specialist with the state Office of Homeland Security.

During a meeting of the Wyoming School Safety and Security Advisory Committee on Tuesday, Simkins outlined some of the training programs being offered to the state's districts for public and private schools.

The safety training was among the recommendations made last year by a task force formed by Gov. Matt Mead that studied the safety and security of Wyoming's schools. The review of school security in the state came up after the massacre of children in a Connecticut elementary school in 2013.

The task force said that Wyoming schools were generally safe but there were many safety and security improvements that could be made.

Simkins is one of two full-time emergency preparedness planners who are working with both the state Office of Homeland Security and the state Department of Education on school safety. They both started in June and are making preliminary visits to each school district in the state on school security and safety.

"I haven't visited every school, but from what I have visited so far, everybody's doing good work to improve their schools," Simkins said.

Besides the training, Teri Wigert, director of safety at the state Education Department, said all districts have been given uniform comprehensive safety and security-planning guidelines that can help them focus better on specific issues and situations.

"In the past, school districts had crisis-management plans. But the breadth and the depth and width of those was very wide," Wigert said.

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