ORLANDO, Fla. – Preparedness is key when it comes to knowing what to do in an emergency situation, especially if it's at a school and students' lives could be at risk.
Instructors and administrators go through training on drill and threat scenarios, but what about substitute teachers who are regularly on campuses?
News 6 contacted school officials across Central Florida to find out what their policies are as it relates to providing training for substitute teachers. Their answers are below.
Each school in Brevard County has a specific security procedure and emergency plan, so it's the principal's duty to make sure that information is relayed to substitute teachers, an official from the district's security department said.
Substitute reachers are required to go through drill and emergency situation training prior to being placed in a classroom. School officials also make substitute teachers aware of individual campus security measures when they report for duty.
Staff and substitute teachers are required to take an online class about active shooters that is offered by Federal Emergency Management Agency. Lake County Schools officials have also developed a self-paced online training course specifically for the district. Security services employees are also available to go to individual campuses to provide further training.
After News 6 published this article, several substitute teachers in Lake County contacted us to say that they have not received drill training. Lake County officials then issued this reply:
"Information about the FEMA online course was sent to principals, directors and supervisors in May. Most followed through to ensure their staff took the course. Some may still be working through their rosters, as no deadline was given. The course is offered online and should take no more than an hour to complete. It can be taken during teacher planning time, which is part of the paid workday. Or it can be done from home, which would not be paid.
Currently, employees are asked to complete the training only once. However, staff is preparing a proposal that would require employees to take the course once every three years.
As of this month, our HR team is now asking new employees (including substitute teachers) to complete the online training prior to coming to orientation. This might help us better ensure that all employees have taken the course going forward. We continue to rely on principals, directors and supervisors to ensure the current employees on their teams meet the requirement as well.
The self-paced training materials are posted on the employee intranet to be used as a resource for any employee who needs them at any time."
"Marion County Public Schools provides an e-folder of security training information to all substitute teachers, including information on mandatory ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) Protocol training each year. All employees, including substitutes, must complete this training annually. This information also includes Code Red and Code Yellow protocols and actions along with other campus scenarios," a spokesman said.
Substitute teachers in Orange County are contracted through Kelly Educational Staffing.
"All Kelly Educational Staffing substitute teachers undergo the same emergency protocols and active assailant training as full time OCPS employees. This was instituted by Orange County Public Schools in February 2018. At that time our current base of substitute teachers were required to take the training. Any new substitute teachers hired after that point are required to undergo the same training during the KES comprehensive orientation course, with a follow up question and answer session to ensure their understanding. Additionally, our employees are made aware of the OCPS emergency manual that is located in each OCPS classroom," a representative from KES said.
"In Osceola County, individuals must attend a three-hour training before they become a substitute teacher. A good portion of that training deals with the district’s Emergency Management Plan and school drills. The training is offered every month. Subs are also encouraged to check in with the school secretary when they arrive at a school for duty for any school specific instructions should an emergency arise," an official from the Osceola County School District said.
An official from Seminole County Public Schools said that all substitute teachers must go through substitute training program annually in order to be eligible to teach and at that meeting, they learn several policies and procedures including school safety and emergency management. Anyone substitutes who are hired during the academic year receive the training during their onboarding process.
Sumter County schools receive their substitute teachers through a staffing agency, which provides training based on information provided by school officials.
Greg Akin, chief operating officer at Volusia County Schools, said the human resources department and school staff provide the majority of training for substitute teachers and security is part of that training. Active shooter training and security response training has also been added within the past two years.