The School – A Vital Link In Civil Defense (1966)


A Realistic Approach to Civil Defense:A Handbook for School Administrators (American Association of School Administrators and National Commission on Safety Education in cooperation with the Office of Civil Defense, Dept. of Defense: GPO, 1966, SuDoc: D 119.8:C 49) reports  “people will not die of radiation sickness if they have adequate shelter for a sufficient, and probably short, period of time” (p.6).

A Realistic Approach also portrays civil defense initiatives as an integral element of school safety programs:

The parent who sends a child to school has every right to expect that the school will provide a plan for physical protection for that child. The responsibility for this planned protection rests clearly with the school administrator and the board of education, though some duties concerned with its implementation may, of course, be delegated to members of the school staff, No administrator, school board member, Government official, or other person can abrogate this responsibility.

Schoolmen know this, and need but to be shown how civil defense is actually a major facet of the school’s basic safety program and how an effective CD program can be organized. (p.4)

A Realistic Approach is an overview of radiation, protective shelter designs, shielding, drills, and the atomic-centric curriculum, the latter based on a 1965 NEA (National Education Association) study titled Civil Defense in the School Curriculum (p.29). Reprinted from the NEA survey is a list of topics on  “civil defense-related subject matters,” of which NEA writes:

Placement of the material within the curriculum is a matter for school district decision. It is suggested that not all of the material be withheld for the upper few grades. Elementary grade pupils will be taking part in drills, and, in some areas, in disaster activities (though we fervently hope not those of nuclear war). Information appropriate to grade level is desirable for all. (p.28)

One of the recommended curriculum topics is introducing students to the notion of  “living without modern conveniences, food preparation, sanitation,” and this be taught to students “enrolled in certain courses.”

Read A Realistic Approach.