The critical importance of school safety outweighs all other priorities for Scottsbluff Public Schools. Parents must be able to send their children off to school each day with confidence that they will return “safe and sound” to them each afternoon. As superintendent, this is always at the forefront of my mind and I know our school principals and their staffs share that same priority.
As is undoubtedly the case for many of you, my own life and professional experiences have made me all too aware of the potential of tragedy and violence in school settings. And, while we must admit to ourselves that not everything is preventable, we must maintain a vigilant focus on ensuring that processes and policies are in place to optimize the likelihood that our children will be safeguarded from the catastrophic and unexpected as much as is humanly possible.
Many initiatives and enhancements are in place and in process as we examine safety components of our school district’s safety and security planning. The following are some of the most significant:
- Card Access Control Security Systems were approved in July of 2011 by our Board of Education for installation in all of our schools. These systems now help to ensure that our buildings are protected from intruders both during the school day and after hours. Associated policies regarding staff and community access and automatic notification to the Scotts Bluff County Communications Emergency 9-1-1 Center will help to provide additional support.
- A web-based, anonymous “Tip Line” provides an opportunity for anonymous reporting of concerns regarding harassment, weapons, drugs and other potentially dangerous issues. While this is not intended to replace 911 calls or face-to-face contact, it does afford another option to our students and their families.
- School Resource Officers (SRO’s) are a vital part of school based security. With an officer assigned to the high school and another to the middle school, armed and trained personnel are available to quickly respond as needed throughout our district.
- Campus Supervisors/Security personnel assist school staff in maintaining appropriate campus management and safety protocols. This includes working with students and community as needed to maintain a pro-active role in ensuring a safe and secure environment. The expansion of the Campus Supervisor program is now being extended to the elementary schools.
- Emergency preparedness is essential for schools to be safe. The Standard Response Protocolserves as a common implementation practice throughout Scottsbluff Public Schools. Staff and students should be trained in uniform classroom response to an incident at school. Weather events, fires, accidents, intruders and other threats to student safety are scenarios that must be planned and trained for by school and district administration and staff.
- AED’s (Automatic External Defibrillators) have been installed in all schools. All personnel are trained. As additional units are acquired, all school facilities will be adequately equipped to provide emergency aid to students, staff and visitors.
- Secured entry, window ballistic/security film and the use of cameras and buzzers at all elementary schools and the middle school is being implemented as a portion of a total “target hardening” approach directed at denying or limiting access through the use of physical barriers.
- Threat assessment protocols are essential so that schools have specific procedures in place to determine the appropriate reaction and safeguards, if any, for any reported danger.
- Frequent building based and districtwide drills and simulations help to ensure that staff and students are prepared to knowledgeably and effectively respond to any emergency.
- Partnering with community, law enforcement and other emergency services and a well-conceived School Emergency Communications Plan is perhaps the most important consideration in any school safety program. Scottsbluff is fortunate to have the support of outstanding and advanced services delivered by highly qualified personnel.
Because of the critical importance of this work, I want to give you my personal assurance of our focus on school safety in SBPS. Some information contained on this website will help detail some of our work and we welcome your feedback.
Richard A. Myles