School Security Frequently Asked Questions
Questions from Community and Staff Members
We have received suggestions and questions from community and staff members about campus safety.
Does the school have an evacuation plan?
Yes. All schools have multiple evacuation sites; however, the location is not released to the public for the safety of your students. Should your school need to be evacuated you will be notified where to pick up your student.
What plans are in place at my child’s school for emergency situations?
Every school has a plan that staff and students practice regularly. This includes fire drills, lockdown drills, and other emergency and crisis situations.
What steps has the district taken to increase security?
Kyrene School District has been aggressively increasing the physical security of our buildings for many years. We also are taking some immediate steps to inspect and review the physical buildings and the safety practices at all of our 25 schools.In 2005, voters approved a Bond measure to renovate and remodel our schools,which allowed us to significantly increase our safety measures such as:
- Portable buildings were replaced to bring all students and staff into the main school buildings.
- Corridors were added at multiple schools to ensure that all classrooms had internal hallway access.
- Intrusion alarm systems installed at all schools and outside door access was limited to badges as opposed to keys.
- Video monitoring systems were implemented on all campuses providing a virtual video fence and surveillance system.
What steps are you taking in light of the Sandy Hook tragedy?On Monday, December 17 the District Crisis Team met and Building Managers and Lead Custodians were asked to inspect and review the physical buildings and the safety practices at all of our 25 schools. For nearly 20 years the district-wide Crisis Team has been proactively planning for and responding to crisis situations.
In light of what happened at Sandy Hook, is the district planning to install a buzz-in system in the school front offices?
At the District Crisis Team meeting on Monday, December 17, 2012, the Superintendent directed staff to immediately begin investigating the development of plans and cost estimates for installing a system like this at all 25 schools.
How have you communicated to parents and staff?
On Friday, December 14 a message sent to the parent and staff email database listed five specific safety and security practices that are currently in place. We provided a link to a document from the National Association of School Psychologists about how to talk with your child about violence. This message was also posted on the district website and Facebook page. On Sunday, December 16 all teachers received information about how to respond to this situation. On Monday, December 17 school principals sent a message to their school community. Dr. Schauer will continue to post additional messages responding to questions from community and staff members on the district website and Facebook page.
What should students do when/if they hear another student pose a threat?
From elementary through middle school, children are taught if they see or hear something that shouldn’t be happening at school, is dangerous or threatening they should report it to a responsible adult. At the beginning of the school year all parents and students are provided with the Kyrene Family Handbook has information on reporting threatening information. Teachers review the handbook with students during the first few weeks of the school year. Family Handbook
School Safety and Security Discussion at Parent Superintendent Council - Tuesday, January 15th:
All Kyrene schools are required to have an Emergency Procedural Guidelines plan. District guidelines are provided and the plans are reviewed on a regular basis. While this is true, each of our 25 schools had developed their own Visitor Procedures over the years and they varied greatly. Therefore, new procedures were implemented on January 7 that combined best practices with additional requirements for added security. Our goal is to ensure every campus is as safe and secure as possible. A Question and Answer panel discussion was held, and following are highlights from that discussion.
Q: Can we have a “frequent flyer” type of program to identify parents who are often on campus to speed up the sign-in process and not take their I.D.?
A: For the first time, office staff can know who is in the building in case of an emergency. The purpose of collecting I.D.’s is that it provides an incentive for people to come through the office and sign out, rather than leaving by a side door.
Q: Rather than leaving a driver’s license or photo ID, could we issue a school I.D. to parents who are frequently on campus that they would surrender in lieu of their license?
A: The best way to ensure someone will come back to the office to check out is to leave their license or photo ID. Forgetting to pick up a school I.D. may not be as effective as not having a driver’s license or photo ID that an individual needs to comply with the law or conduct important business.
Q: What is the plan for controlling visitors on the playground on event days, as well as before and after school?
A: We are still working on this, with input from school administrators. We want to find a balance between welcoming parents and having a sense of community, with having a secure environment. Playground supervisors do not know which adults on the grounds are parents and which might be a dangerous intruder.
Q: What is the district’s perspective on arming school personnel or having School Resource Officers (SROs) on every campus?
A: We would love to have an SRO at every campus because they are not only a safety resource but also a relationship resource and help in many ways. This would be very expensive so we are financially unable to do it. We also need to be careful about setting up a false sense of security with an SRO. They are a resource for the kids, but are not patrolling the grounds protecting the school. To have a lay person with a weapon would require so much training to be able to respond in a crisis that it is not feasible, and could be more dangerous than not having a weapon there. We plan to have law enforcement talk to our Crisis Team and principals about how to respond to an intruder.
Q: We talk a lot about guns but not about mental health. How do you identify students who could potentially walk into a school with a gun?
A: As kids grow up and move through school, we want them to be not only educated, but mentally healthy, so we need to build our mental health resources. We should urge the government to have a national forum on mental health. We are working to identify signs of an unstable person that staff can look for. Resources we currently employ include programs like Rachel’s Challenge, Mini-Town, Buddy Clubs, Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies (PBIS), as well as psychologists, social workers, nurses and behavior interventionists. We partner with other organizations that can provide help in identifying and providing services for kids who need help.