Insurance is not enough liability protection from active shooters
- Active shooter insurance policies help protect school districts from the enormous financial losses that such incidents cause, and insurance companies are seeing a surge in requests for such coverage over the course of the past year, District Administration reports.
- Before seeking active shooter insurance, however, district leaders should check their general liability insurance to see what costs would be covered already and develop safety teams to plan strategies to prevent and respond to such events.
- While active shooter scenarios are a primary consideration for many, administrators also need to make sure they are not overlooking more common liabilities such as poor visitor screening and access control, and lack of sufficient supervision of students.
As if school administrators didn't have enough concerns, the threat of active shooter situations is looming large in many minds. A hard look at active shooter insurance is just one aspect of the issue. Schools are now looking at a wide range of strategies to help prevent these scenarios, ranging from banning backpacks to increasing access to mental health providers and improving security measures.
On the larger stage, the issue is being studied as well. A federal commission is pondering the best ways to address the issue. President Donald Trump has suggested arming teachers while student protests are drawing attention to the issue of gun control. Even mental health experts cannot agree, with some stressing the need for early mental health intervention and others pointing to guns as the cause.
One issue that has not received as much attention is that of parental accountability. However, this issue was recently discussed in Texas at a gun violence summit. Parents are more likely to know what is going on in the mind of a child than school officials. Attitudes and weapons are more likely to be picked up at home, as well. And parents do have legal responsibilities for the actions of their minor children. After consulting with school attorneys, school leaders may want to consider crafting a statement reminding parents of their legal obligations, encouraging them to seek help for students who are troubled, and doing their part in providing responsible oversight of weapons.
- District Administration More school districts buying active shooter insurance, but other liabilities remain