Written By Julia Kirchner
Many threats to student safety have been made within the last week in JCPS schools. Superintendent Marty Pollio reminded parents of the security plan that is currently in place in schools across the district.
There are rules in place to ensure the safety of all students. Pollio pointed out a few of the measures that are taken to keep students protected in order to ease the minds of families in the letter below:
“February 21, 2018
Dear JCPS Families:
Following yet another senseless tragedy at a school in our country, I want to reiterate the importance of safety in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and the measures in place to keep students and faculty safe. As superintendent and a fellow JCPS parent, the safety and security of all of our students, staff, and schools are my top priority.
I share and value your concerns, and I want you to know I am committed to doing everything possible to ensure that JCPS is a model district for school safety. I also want to let you know about several safety measures currently in place or under way in JCPS to safeguard students:
Emergency preparedness training-As I did in January, I have required that school principals review their safety plans and procedures with students and staff. All of our schools are trained in emergency preparedness and regularly participate in drills to review their training.
Controlled access and visitor registry-During the school day, our schools maintain heightened security measures where entrances are secured, access is controlled, and visitors are required to register with the front office before entering the building.
Monitoring social media for potential threats-We work closely with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to monitor social media posts and investigate any potential threats. Additionally, I have reinforced to our schools the importance of acting on any tip or threat received through social media or another channel.
Reviews of student support-All of our principals are asked to review how they assess, provide counseling support and document concerns around students with mental health needs.
JCPS Security and Investigations Unit-Staffed by nearly two dozen special law enforcement officers, the JCPS Security and Investigations Unit investigates criminal activity at school sites, on school buses, and at bus stops. The unit also provides uniform patrol for JCPS properties and conducts professional-development (PD) training for all in-school security monitors.
24-hour security-Our JCPS District Operations Center (DOC) answers emergency and non-emergency calls for service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and dispatches appropriate help. The professional staff is dedicated to providing quality service to not only our district students and staff but also to the families and partner agencies we serve. The DOC employs a highly trained staff that uses the latest technology in order to maintain our high commitment to student and staff safety.
In addition to our security measures that are already in place, I have directed our district to do a thorough review of current policies and procedures and make recommendations for continual improvement.
Finally, there are three important things you can do as parents or guardians as we work together to keep students safe:
Bring your photo ID to your child’s school-Always have a photo ID available to show the office staff when you visit a school. This is not only state law, but it also ensures that we know exactly who is in our building at all times.
Update your contact information-Make sure that we always have the most current contact information and enrollment form on file in your child’s school office. This helps ensure that we can contact you in the event of any emergency, and it informs staff about who should have access to students while they are at school.
If you see something, say something-Have age-appropriate discussions frequently with your child about what he or she hears or sees on the news, at school, online or in the neighborhood-and encourage your child to report any suspicious activity to a trusted adult at school or to you.
I thank you for trusting us with the safety and education of your child. While we believe that we have strong safety measures in place, as a district, we are always looking for opportunities to improve and are currently reviewing how we can better ensure the safety of students, staff, and all of our schools.
Dr. Marty Pollio
Pleasure Ridge Park is taking its own precautions, as well as cracking down on the rules that are already in place. Administrators and staff members are making sure students are in their assigned areas at all times during the school day. All possible threats have been investigated.
“Our schools is doing what they can to make sure we’re safe,” sophomore Kalen Barnett said. “I don’t think there is anything to worry about.”