A safe school is in a place where students can learn and teachers can teach in a welcoming environment, free of intimidation and fear. It is a setting where the educational climate fosters a spirit of acceptance and care for all students; where behavior expectations are clearly communicated, consistently enforced, and fairly applied. A safe school is also one that is prepared to respond to the unthinkable crisis.
(Safe School Planning: The Art of the Possible, October 3rd, 2012 by gcckc , by Ronald D. Stephens, NSSC Executive Director)
Maybe you overhear someone bragging about having committed a crime.
Maybe you have seen suspicious activity or overheard threatening statements or statements by someone making plans or intending to commit a crime or to harm others.
Maybe you know someone who is driving a stolen car...or is hiding from the police...or is a robber or drug dealer.
Or maybe you just see something that doesn't look right. A strange car. A person acting sneaky. Someone with a gun or knife.
Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.
Some of these activities could be innocent—it's up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation. The activities above are not all-inclusive but have been compiled based on studies of pre-operational aspects of both successful and thwarted terrorist events over several years.
If you aren't sure that what you saw or heard is really a crime, call anyway. Let the police decide if it's worth investigating.
If there is an emergency, call 9-1-1.
During an emergency, or threat of emergency, school officials and law enforcement take specific, planned steps to keep students and staff safe. Emergency plans are confidential in order to ensure that they are not compromised. But what can parents and others in the community expect?
School officials will work closely with emergency first responders and the media.
Schools will go into either secure mode or lockdown mode.
Shelter-In-Place mode - occurs when there is a threat outside the building or there is a non-threatening circumstance when people need to be kept away from areas (e.g. medical emergency or disturbance). For schools that lock doors during the school day, Shelter-In-Place mode only adds the provision that no one can enter or exit the school.
Lockdown mode - usually occurs when there is a threat or intruder inside the building.
School officials will make calls on the Mass Communication Alert System to notify parents.
We understand that parents and guardians may wish to take their children out of school during these times. Unfortunately, parents' desire to take their children may create situations that further complicate an emergency.
If you choose to come to school during an emergency, you will not have the kind of access to the school and your child to which you are accustomed. The following information is important:
We suggest that parents refrain from coming to a school during an emergency. We may close the school and parking lot to everyone except for police, emergency workers, and school officials.
The presence of additional people on or near school grounds makes it more difficult for police, emergency workers, and school staff to do their jobs. Parents who do come to school will have to wait in cars or outside the school until we are certain the situation is safe.
Until all students and the school building are safe and secure, we do not release students from our supervision.
If there is an evacuation from a school, all students will be moved to a secure, safe location away from the school under the supervision of teachers and administrative staff.
Because of the need to maintain order, school staff may not release your child even if you have told your child to leave. Your child is safer under the supervision of school staff than on his or her own.
Please refrain from using cell phones and landlines to call the school or your child, as this ties up the phone lines for emergency personnel handling the situation.
During a crisis, our district puts a priority on providing accurate, timely information as it becomes available. We will coordinate any release of information with law enforcement. However, it will not contain all the details of the incident and updates may not be frequent as district officials' priority will be ensuring the safety of the staff and children. To get information, you should monitor the school and district website and the district smartphone application. The telephone line capacity is limited. Telephone access may not be possible.
All visitors are expected and directed to report their presence to the school office immediately upon entering a school facility. They are required to sign a visitor logbook, state the reason for their visit, and receive a visitor’s badge that will be worn and prominently displayed while in the building. The visitor’s badge must be one of the following types:
A temporary badge that fades within a few hours;
A visitor’s badge that is issued in exchange for a government-issued ID that is returned when exiting the building; or
A school-issued photo ID for volunteers who regularly visit the school.
Visitors without a current driver’s license or state ID may be vouched for by a school administrator if known, vouched for by a parent or authorized guardian, and must sign in giving the current address of residency.
Visitor access may be denied at the discretion of a school administrator.
Volunteers who have been issued access cards must notify the office they are in the building and when they are leaving the building.
Persons registered on the National Sex Offender Registry and those having been served with visitation restrictions must notify the administration 24 hours in advance for visitation approval at all school facilities and functions.
The visitor procedures may apply when visitors are attending an assembly, athletic event, or other school programs in areas typically recognized for large group assembly of the community, such as gymnasiums, auditoriums, etc., or when parents are attending activities clearly for the purpose of parent engagement, such as an open house or parent-teacher conferences.
During the school year, contractors working in schools must display a district-issued ID badge or be confirmed by operational services and are required to check-in through the school office.
Working together as a community we will ensure a Safe and Secure learning environment for our children.