Our district takes school safety very seriously. We spend considerable time and energy each year working with local law enforcement to review school emergency plans, train staff, practice safety drills with students, and increase security in our buildings. We also work with Washington County Public Health and Safety and the Sheriff's Office to conduct safety audits of our facilities, train our staff, and address mental health concerns in our community.
As part of its emergency planning the district has conducted extensive evaluations of all four areas of school crisis planning, as recommended by the United States Department of Education, including:
- Prevention and mitigation
Addressing these four areas reduces risk and improves school climate - enhancing the ability of students to learn. Our work includes a variety of efforts, like:
- Internal evaluations of safety, security and emergency preparedness
- Enhanced collaboration between the school district and area public safety agencies
- Training for district employees
- Updated and expanded school crisis plans
- Enhanced approaches to school emergency drills and exercises
- Production of a series of custom school safety training videos for use in training of students and staff
All of our school buildings have controlled access entrances. Exterior doors to the building are locked and visitors must enter through the main office before being buzzed into the rest of the building. Video intercom systems are also in use at many of our schools, which allow school staff to see who is requesting entry into the school before they buzz them into the building. Once access into the office is granted, all visitors are asked to show a photo ID which is run through a visitor management system to identify individuals who may pose a danger to our students. A School Resource Officer (an armed police officer from our local police departments) is also in each of our middle schools and high school every day.
Every year our students and staff take part in five lockdown drills and five fire drills and we document our findings (what went well and what we might improve upon.) A building evacuation drill is also practiced each year. Each school also has a Building Emergency Response Team that meets throughout the year to review safety practices and coordinate building plans.