School Safety and Security

School Safety and Security
Posted on 03/07/2018
SRO at JS

Dear members of the Franklin Pierce Schools community,

Like many of you, the mention of "Parkland school shooting" in the news has hit a little too close to home for me. To think of the impact of this tragedy on students, families, teachers and the Parkland, Florida community is overwhelming. It is a reminder that schools are not exempt from the challenges of the complex world that we live in, and that educators are continually being asked to go beyond the role of teaching.

While we will never be able to guarantee complete safety in our schools, we have taken several proactive measures to support the safety and wellbeing of students and staff. Some of these efforts include:

  • Dedicated School Security Officers (SSO; Pierce County Sheriffs Department Deputies) for each secondary school, and two district-wide School Resources Officers;
  • A dedicated Safety Security and Emergency Management Supervisor that works proactively with each of our schools and local law enforcement agencies and coordinates our response to crisis situations;
  • Ongoing leadership and support from our district security team and safety committee made up of staff from each of our buildings;
  • A menu of trainings available to us through our participation in the Pierce County K-12 Work Group (Pierce County school districts, law enforcement and fire agencies);
  • Security surveillance systems at each district facility and on all school buses;
  • An anonymous tip-line available to all staff, students, parents, and community members through the Safe Schools Alert System (Phone: 1-855-4ALERT1; Text: #1182@tip + your tip to ALERT1; Email: 1182@alert1.us; Web: http://1182.alart1.us);
  • A district-wide phone and email emergency communication system designed to communicate with parents and guardians in a timely manner;
  • A district-wide threat assessment process to address threats, suicidal ideation and concerning/alarming behaviors in a proactive manner;
  • A district Flight Team comprised of school counselors, psychologists and social workers to assist in crisis recovery;
  • A new safety and security resource website that includes updated information about district policies and procedures (http://www.fpschools.org/for_parents/safety_and_security)

You should also know that the community’s support of the 2016 Bond will allow us to make significant investment in safety systems at each of our schools over the next several years. In addition to the construction of five new schools that will be designed to maximize safety (limited number of entrances, access control systems, safety-focused design in play areas, video surveillance, lighting, etc.), we have allocated $850,000 to install access control and visitor vetting systems in each of our schools as well as integrated mass notification systems.

In the midst of tragedy, the Stoneman Douglas High School students in Parkland, Florida have inspired youth across the country to shine a spotlight on the continued reality of gun violence in our schools. Staff and students throughout Franklin Pierce Schools will honor the victims of school shootings by taking time to discuss topics such as bullying, mental health and community safety, while learning from those impacted by gun violence (first responders, law enforcement officials, trauma counselors, etc.). Through these efforts, we will commit to staying attentive, communicating openly, and refining our emergency response procedures.

Keeping our schools safe is a communal effort. While we will do our best to develop strong district policies, procedures and practices, open communication and partnership among students, families and school staff will be our most effective tool.

Thank you for your support in this endeavor

Sincerely,

Dr. Hewins Signature

Dr. Frank Hewins

Superintendent, Franklin Pierce Schools