Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Understandably, many questions regarding school safety have been shared with us. We are grateful for the inquiries and for the opportunity to respond/highlight more specific details regarding our commitment to student and school safety. We will continue to update this document as we receive additional questions. As always, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.
“Are we adequately controlling access to our campuses?”
This is one of the most common areas of concern and challenges us to balance the expectation of secure campuses with the goal of family and community engagement and shared facility use. We are assertive in addressing campus access in the following ways:
“What about access points after school? With so many schools offering many after school activities, access seems to be compromised?”
Our schools do offer many great after school opportunities and our preparation must be as intentional after school as it is during school. Certainly, this is a challenge with parent programs, partnerships and clubs, and our space being accessed by our various parent groups. Again the key is close monitoring, communication systems, adequate supervision, and limiting access points. All of our schools have safety plans and the response plans remain the same for after school. We are taking steps to assess our after school response plans to ensure that we are equally intentional about our after school planning and preparation. From locking gates after dismissal and limiting entrance/arrival to one point to sharing of radios and enlisting partners to serve as campus monitors, there are several options to enhance after-school safety.
“How does the district plan for emergencies?
“Are we prepared for a rapid response to an emergency?
“What about automatic locking doors or panic buttons?” Would that help”?
We are prepared to make whatever investments are necessary to make our schools even safer. This is evident in our immediate investments of additional radios and video cameras. Our campus assessments are being conducted to ensure that any investments meet a campus need and will actually make the campus safer. We are fortunate to have a great partnership with the Culver City Police Department and their counsel in these matters continues to be invaluable.
“Have there been any additional steps taken recently to enhance safety?”
The addition of cameras at several school sites to ensure for improved office surveillance
Additional radios to improve communication at several sites
Several meeting with Culver City Police to deepen our partnership – including additional commitments to daily presence and patrols, analysis of response times, etc.
Assertive action at school sites - team meetings to review procedures, meetings with staff and parents to solicit feedback and address concerns; enhanced lock down drills, purposeful communication with staff, students, families; affirmation of check-in procedures, visitor sign-in and staff badges
Increased communication and promotion of district preparedness, resources and commitments (via web, auto calls, publications, etc.)
“What about future planning? What else can be done?
Site Access/Safety assessment/walk-through exercises with law enforcement and our facility team. We are reviewing/evaluating campus needs and are prepared to make immediate investments
We are planning a coordinated "active shooter" drill with Culver City Police Department to take place at our high school during Spring Break
We are evaluating and indentifying options for Enhanced "First Responder" training for all site/department leaders (partnering again with Culver City Police Department)
Exploring various options and partnerships to provide mentoring for students in need of adult support
Engaging partners to serve as campus monitors through structured recruitment and training (for example “Watch D.O.G.S.” (Dads of Great Students) to provide for great adult presence, positive role models and additional supervision during morning arrival, dismissal, after school programs, etc.
“There is a great deal of talk about mental health and school safety. What are we doing to protect the social and emotional well-being of students?”
Caring for the whole child is essential to providing kind and safe learning environments. Teaching, modeling, and expecting positive, respectful behavior is evident in our policies, practices and programs. Establishing high expectations and accountability is critical to safety; as is positive, timely, caring and compassionate intervention and support for students who struggle socially or emotionally. It is crucial that we not jump to labeling children- unfairly “connect the dots” between student needs and student violence. The key is a positive, responsive school culture with rich, varied resources for timely support. CCUSD is fortunate to have strong support systems for our student’s healthy growth and development.
“What if I have questions or concerns; or if I have an idea or interest in helping?”
As always, open and timely communication is at the core of positive and trusting relationships. With the topic of school safety, this trust is absolutely essential. Whenever you have a question, are worried about your child, feel uneasy about an issue or practice, or need some support, contact us immediately. Your “voice” is needed in order for us to attain the goal we all share – success for EVERY child without exception. We want to hear from you and know that we can do our best work with respects to teaching and learning if we are partners in this special, unique, challenging and deeply rewarding journey. Please contact your child’s teacher, the school principal and/or me directly with any question/issue or topic.