The I Love You Guys is a safety protocol that Alliance Charter Academy and many schools in America use.
Most people wouldn’t think that a foundation named I Love You Guys (ILUG) would be a safety program for schools and some businesses. Ellen and John-Michael Keyes lost their daughter in a school emergency in 2009, from that accident the I Love You Guys Foundation was created.
Because most people don’t know what the I Love You Guys is about, I decided to contact the foundation and ask them some questions. Sabra Jewell, Development Director of the I Love You Guys Foundation happily responded with some answers.
Q: How did the foundation start?
A: “As you probably know, the Keyes lost Emily. After that, they found a lot of their healing through their relationships with law enforcement. These relationships have been really important to ILUG as we have gotten to work with a lot of great folks who help protect students and teachers. We work with school resource officers, first responders, and lots and lots of police. When those folks work together with schools in your community, it can have quite an impact should there be an emergency. The way we got into school safety, is we noticed that in 2009 when you Googled school safety, there were hundreds of thousands of resources. Schools didn’t have common language within their districts so it would be hard to really determine what was going on if you were a substitute teacher, a new student, or even a member of local law enforcement responding to the incident. We created our program to be that common language so during a crisis, people could respond accordingly as quick as possible.” One thing I’ve learned through this process is that having a “common” language throughout all schools and even communities is very important.”
Q: How many schools use your safety protocol in America?
A: “We know of 35 states that use the SRP. Since we do not require people to purchase our program we aren’t completely sure just how many schools use it. We estimate around 20,000 schools use the SRP today.”
Q: Do any schools outside of the US use the (ILUG) protocol?
A: “We have schools in Calgary, Canada who use the program and there is interest in the UK.”
Q: Do other places besides schools use it?
A: “Yes! We have a version for businesses and we have also been developing materials for churches and other faith based organizations. After the shooting in Charleston in 2015, it became evident to develop materials for these groups. “
Q: Have you seen improvements on emergency situations because of “I Love You Guys”?
A: “We know that more people have plans that didn’t have them before. We know that kids feel safer in school (based on a school safety climate out of Jefferson County, Colorado). We know that people do as they drill so whether a school is using our product or another school safety mechanism, we hope they are drilling often.”
At the beginning of every school year, and sporadically throughout the school year, ACA does a number of safety drills. A survey of the Journalism class was taken about their knowledge and understanding of the I Love You Guys emergency protocols and their general safety knowledge. 70% of the students who took part in the poll had never heard of the I Love You Guys. Lockdown and fire were the most known drills, while earthquake was the least known amongst the journalism students.While some students are better versed on certain safety protocols than others, they know why it’s important to practice them. When asked why it’s important to practice emergency situations through drills Olivia Silbernagel said “I think having a safety protocol is important because it allows students to practice what to do in an emergency. If we had never heard a fire alarm before or had no idea what it meant to lock down the school, people could be put in much more danger than if we had been prepared.”
Rylie Young also stated, “I think it’s important because if we didn’t have a protocol, then when an emergency does happen none of us would know what to do. People could get hurt, and things would be chaotic, going over it many times helps us keep calm when the real thing happens.”
With more of a clear picture of who the I Love You Guys are, and a better understanding of the students knowledge on the ILUG and their protocols, Jill Mohr, ACA’s Incident Commander was interviewed to gain more facts on why we use ILUG safety protocols, whose choice it was, and if it’s had approval by ACA families etc.
Q: What are your opinions on I love you guys?
A: “I really like the I love you guys Foundation because, they use best practices so they’ve really researched, what are the best protocols for each of the situation, It’s not just one person coming up with an idea and selling it. They’ve brought in police and fire and all these trained professionals to design the program, another reason I like it is because it’s a standard program it looks the same in every school.”
Q: How long have we used the safety protocol?
A: “We’ve used I Love You guys for 2 years.”
Jill said that the transition was so smooth because this “new” protocol is not much different than the old one, except for easier terminology and a lots of free and easy resources to help guide our school.
Q: What did we use before the I love you guys?
A: “ The district had a flip sheet with protocols so we followed those guidelines”
Q: Why do we do so many drills?
A: “The district has guidelines that we have to follow.”
Q: Did the old safety protocol work better or worse?
A: “The I love you guys has more updated info as far as what to do, it has more standard language so that people have the same vocabulary and terminology when we’re talking about something. Like if we said evacuation we know what that is and what to do.”
In the end I Love You Guys has done very well in keeping things simple and easy for schools to use. ACA is privileged to be provided and to provide helpful yet simple information to create a safe atmosphere for students, teachers, and parents.