|Pattonville works with community on enhancing school safety|
|Wednesday, February 21, 2018|
Since last fall, a committee of parents, students, staff and community members have been meeting to develop plans to address safety and facilities needs in the future for the Pattonville School District.
The critical issues committee is working as part of the district’s overall effort to update its strategic plan, also known as the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP). The CSIP plan will be presented to the Board of Education on Feb. 27 for approval. One of the committee’s first recommendations, however, is already being put into motion. Pattonville hired Bond Architects to conduct a building-by-building safety audit to evaluate the needs of the district and assess current safety protocols to determine what modifications are recommended.
The audit includes evaluating access to each building to determine if improvements can be made and if additional monitoring is needed, internal safety measures within each building, as well as a review of new locking technologies for exterior and interior doors. The district is currently reviewing the results of the audit to determine next steps and a possible timeline for implementation.
“Safety for our students and staff is always foremost in our minds,” said Chief Financial Officer Ron Orr, who co-chaired the critical issues committee with student Eric Hamilton. “We are constantly evaluating and updating our training and facilities are to ensure we are doing all we can to keep students safe while they are in our care.”
In addition to the building safety audit, Pattonville will also continue to evaluate and update its safety training programs for students and staff. Each school has an emergency response procedures plan to address a variety of emergencies, and the staff is trained annually on these plans. Most of Pattonville’s administrative staff has received active shooter training certification, and the district has worked in conjunction with external experts and local law enforcement to train all staff on active shooter response. Throughout the year, students and staff participate in drills to practice how to respond to different emergencies, including weather emergencies and active shooters/intruders. Pattonville works in partnership with local law enforcement on proactive safety planning and emergency responses.
Addressing students’ social-emotional needs is an important part of school safety as well. Counselors at each school are equipped to support students’ wellbeing, and staff is trained in areas such as suicide and bullying awareness, prevention and response. The district has also established a tip line (quicktip.psdr3.org) where safety concerns can be reported to school officials. All certified staff members have received training on trauma-informed care, and support staff will receive training in April. The training defines what trauma is; how to recognize the impact of stress and trauma on the school community; and how best to support families and students experiencing trauma.
“One of the most important ways our schools keep students safe is by building relationships with students and families, so they feel connected and comfortable sharing any concerns with school staff or our police partners,” Orr said. “Only by working together can we can continue to keep our schools and communities safe places for students to learn and grow.”