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District 7 Comprehensive School Safety Procedures

Posted: August 15,2013

Safety continues to be District 7’s number one priority. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 caused shock waves around the world. No one knows what goes on in the mind of someone who could commit such an act, but the loss of so many innocent children and those who were charged with their care has caused all of us to reflect and ask ourselves whether we are doing everything within reason to protect our children.

The District 7 Safety Committee

The District 7 Safety Committee is currently comprised of Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz; Edwardsville Police Department Chief Jay Keeven and representatives from his staff; Lt. Charlie Kohlberg, former Head of the District 7 School Resource Officer program and School Safety Officer Program; Glen Carbon Police Department Chief John Lakin; Jack Fox, Retired US Secret Service Agent; Chris Williams, Special Agent, US Secret Service; Phil Melcher, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA); District 7 Social Workers and Psychologists; and District administrators.

The goal is to provide a safe and secure learning environment through continuous assessment that includes:       

         Improvement of the school environment through a no tolerance policy for violence

         Teaching the importance of tolerance, civility, and respect

         Constant practice and drills to enhance awareness and preparedness should there be an emergency

         Identification of and support for individuals who are in need of mental health intervention

         Enhancement of physical security measures to deter and reduce the risk of harm to our students and staff

         Reduction of as many risk factors as possible that may ultimately lead to school disruption or violence

Through the efforts and the many years of collaboration amongst our law enforcement partners, the District has implemented many safety initiatives, including the following:

         An intergovernmental agreement among District 7, the Edwardsville Police Department, the Glen Carbon Police Department, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. Through this agreement, we meet and share information in a proactive manner that allows potential problems to be addressed prior to an incident.

         An intergovernmental agreement between District 7 and the Edwardsville Police Department to place four (4) School Resource Officers (Edwardsville Police Officers) at the middle schools and high school.

         Controlled access to all schools, with School Safety Officers at the entrance of each building. All other doors are locked.

         Regular walk-throughs of each building by Glen Carbon, Edwardsville, Madison County police officers, and/or School Safety Officers.

         Mental health protocol for students and staff who are in need of support. We believe this is the strongest component of the District’s safety program, as it serves as a form of identification and support for those individuals who are in need of assistance.

         Partnership with Gateway Medical Center to support cases where mental health intervention is required within 24 hours.

         K-12 anti-bullying program that is supported by 10 social workers, 12 psychologists, 7 counselors, and 13 school nurses.

         Comprehensive, individualized emergency plans at the District and building level.

         An annual Security Audit and Vulnerability Assessment of each building, conducted by Sgt. Charlie Kohlberg of the Edwardsville Police Department, in cooperation with the Glen Carbon Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department at the beginning of each school year. The Safety Committee, headed by Sgt. Kohlberg and District 7 staff, corrects any areas that may cause a breach in security.

         Communication response system (School Reach emergency notification system) that contacts parents/guardians in the event of an emergency, potential safety concerns, and school cancellation.

         Interior and exterior surveillance cameras, which are evaluated regularly and upgraded or replaced as necessary.

2013-2014 Safety Improvements

1.    Installation of new classroom door locks so that all teachers can lock doors from the inside of the classroom.

2.    Installation of panic or duress alarms at each school, which can be activated at two locations. The alarm will contact public safety officials if/when activated.

3.    Update school floor plans to include camera locations and provide to Glen Carbon Police Department, Edwardsville Police Department, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

4.    Implementation of Remote Camera Access. The District is implementing remote access to security cameras for law enforcement officials. This will allow the police departments to access the interior surveillance cameras to determine security vulnerability and/or possible intruders.

5.     Installation of surveillance cameras to front entrance of all school buildings. Visitors and parents will be required to show identification to be granted access to the building. Cameras will record individuals entering the building.

6.    Increased Safety Measures at Hamel, Midway, and Worden Due to Their Proximity to the Police Department and the Response Time for Police Assistance – the District has collaborated with Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz, Hamel Mayor Larry Bloemker, and Worden Mayor Preston Hall to place a part-time officer at Hamel, Midway, and Worden Elementary Schools. This collaborative effort is a huge step toward improving police presence and response time should there be a need. The police officers will be in the building at different times of the day and will have a dedicated workspace, as well as access to a computer and telephone.

7.    Require all District 7 employees to wear ID badges.

8.    Require middle school and high school students (Grades 6-12) to wear ID badges. To be implemented for the 2013-2014 school year.

District 7 Mental Health Safety Protocol for Students and Staff

District 7’s approved safety protocol addresses individuals who may exhibit symptoms or signs indicating that they could cause harm to themselves or to others. This safety protocol is not viewed as punitive but rather is seen as a means of getting help for those who are in need.

Students may be excluded from school after it is determined through a protocol that he/she may be at risk for suicide or engaging in activity that is physically harmful to the student or to another person. The student will not be permitted to return to school until the principal receives written confirmation from a psychiatrist, certified clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or licensed clinical professional counselor stating it is safe for the student to return and that the student is not in danger of hurting himself/herself or others.

The Board has a formal agreement with Gateway Medical Center for families requiring assistance in obtaining an assessment of the student’s status. The District coordinates with Gateway Medical Center to obtain a student assessment and subsequent treatment by a psychiatrist or certified clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or licensed clinical professional counselor.

The treating professional or physician must sign off that it is safe for the student to return to school, and that the student is not in danger of hurting himself/herself or others. School staff members are in contact with parents as part of this process, allowing parents and/or students to share information with the school staff.

For the well-being of the student, the parent(s)/guardian(s) are requested to provide consent for release of certain information. This information is used for the purpose of providing a safe environment for students, employees, and visitors.

District 7 Emergency Plans and Protocol

The District has an emergency plan as well as individual plans for each building. Included are safety drills that teachers and students practice on a frequent basis. There are three key components of the emergency plan: Code Stay, Code Move, and Code Yellow. These codes are comprised of a simple set of emergency directives and procedures that staff members are to follow, without hesitation, to protect themselves and their students.

Summer Safety Review

Each summer, the District meets with local law enforcement officials (Sheriff Bob Hertz, Edwardsville Chief of Police Jay Keeven, and Chief John Lakin) to discuss current and new trends in areas such as violence and drug and alcohol abuse, specifically within the boundaries of District 7.

During June, the Safety Committee convened and reviewed the data relating to illegal drug distribution and violence, which is always critical because of our proximity to St. Louis and connections to major interstates. The data showed that there wasn’t an increase in drug activities from 2012 to 2013.

The concern continues to be with the influx of the new heroin; the more potent, home grown marijuana; and the distribution of prescription drugs.

Project DrugSmart

As part of the District 7 Project DrugSmart program that was launched in the fall of 2011, an educational film was produced to educate students and parents regarding the rampant and growing use of a new form of heroin. This film was produced in collaboration with SIUE and local law enforcement agencies and was shown throughout the State of Illinois.

The focus for 2013-2014 will continue to be on education regarding prescription drug abuse and distribution. A second film will be produced by the fall of 2013.

 

 

District 7 Safety Programs

District 7 works closely with parents and law enforcement agencies to ensure that all schools are safe. School safety is enhanced by a comprehensive program that includes state-of-the-art safety and security technology, school safety personnel, emergency preparedness planning, intervention protocol, and educational programming.

Every person visiting a District 7 school is required to show photo identification and is then issued a visitor’s badge before proceeding to his/her destination. The identification is scanned and entered into a database. The system searches the State of Illinois sex offender registry, and a visitor’s badge is printed.

 

Visitor management security technology has been installed in all District 7 schools. 

School district employees can access various points of their school buildings by a biometric signature from a finger or thumb coupled with a proximity card reader.

  

All District 7 schools use surveillance equipment that can be monitored from a remote location by designated personnel or archived for review at a later time.

 

School Safety Officers can view the school’s surveillance system via their laptop computers at their work stations in real time. They may also switch among cameras to view specific areas of the building.

 

School Safety Officers are responsible for conducting perimeter checks on the school building exteriors, including doors, playgrounds, and parking lots. School Safety Officers are vigilant in their observation of any person or persons who do not belong on school property.

 

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Edwardsville School District #7 • 708 St. Louis St. • Edwardsville • IL • 62025 • (618) 656-1182
Last updated on: September 04, 2013 at 01:35 PM
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