There are many action items we take daily to ensure a safe school environment, and we continue to grow and improve our practice to keep up with the needs around school safety today. It is important to note that we do not publicize all measures in place as doing so would also alert those who may wish to cause harm in our schools. Many of our measures may not be as visible but are equally important to ensuring the safety of our buildings.
Since the Safe Schools Coordinator position was created 14 years ago, the district continues to collaborate, learn and improve safety practices. Some of those improvements include:
- Video surveillance in schools and on buses
- Student Identification Cards
- School Resource Officers
- School Security Specialists
- Video Buzzer Entry Systems
- Safe School Operable Radio Systems
- Safe2Tell Education and Awareness
- Staff and Student Training/Drills in SRP (Standard Response Protocol)
That last statement may be the most important thing. As we often say, it takes a village to raise a child. This holds equally true when it comes to school safety; school safety is everyone’s responsibility. The use of the SRP system, which was developed in response to school violence, is a framework of preparedness that trains students and staff to know what to do in a crisis situation, avoiding unnecessary consequences. It also puts all of the school personnel in sync with emergency responders, who also use the same framework.
There are four components to the SRP framework, which are:
|Lockout – A lockout is when there is a potential threat in the community but not directly to the school. Exterior doors are locked and secured and outside activity is minimized, but school remains business as usual in this event. In situations like this, students would not be released for lunch or go to their outdoor playgrounds, for example.|
|Lockdown – A lockdown is when there is a threat in the building or in the immediate vicinity. Staff is knowledgeable regarding the routine required for this drill and the school resource officers, our Safe Schools Coordinator and the police and/or fire assist with these drills. When staff and students train for these situations, they will know exactly how to respond to the circumstances, drastically minimizing negative outcomes. As you may know, the implementation of this process is what limited further loss of life as teachers and students immediately executed this process taking students out of harms way and providing time for law enforcement authorities to respond to the threat.|
We also practice Evacuations for emergencies, and Sheltering in place, all elements of the Standard Response Protocol used throughout the State of Colorado and the country.
It is also important that our families understand how and when we communicate around a crisis or perceived threat in one of our schools. We have a reverse notification system that we use in a true emergency. In those cases, families will receive a call, or email, or text, or a combination of the three. We also use this system for snow closures, delays on bus routes or other important district notices. It is important that you ensure your contact details are updated at your school office so you receive these important notifications.
In non-emergency situations, often we will share with families any facts we have around a situation through a letter that either goes home with your student or is sent through our reverse notification system’s email feature.
We work hard with local authorities to assess potential threats and communicate known facts to families in a time sensitive manner, without violating privacy. Certain restrictions in laws do not allow some facts to be shared, such as student or employee names of those involved, and we will only share substantiated facts around any perceived or reported threat.
We’ve spent time emphasizing the importance of Safe2Tell as a resource for students, parents, and members of our community. When a Safe2Tell report comes in at any time 24/7, school officials, district officials, and law enforcement all receive it simultaneously. Investigations begin immediately with all parties collaborating. If it is a potential threat, the student(s) involved immediately are contacted by law enforcement to assess threat and the means to carry it out. We do not wait until the next day to assess any threat.
We work steadfast throughout the year to ensure that students are receiving rigorous academics, timely social emotional support, and feel safe and secure at school. It is important that we work together in partnership to support all of these needs of our students. Should you ever like to discuss our safety practices more in-depth, we welcome the dialogue and encourage you to contact either of us for a meeting or a call. Thanks for all you do to support your student!
With safety in mind,
Dan Snowberger Kathy Morris
Superintendent Safe Schools Coordinator