School security is ever changing and is driven by a degree of fear. Thousands of people trying to tell you what to do to make your school safer and most have something that they say your school needs to make it safer.
School safety and security have always been important within the New Albany School District (NASD) as noted by one of its core values being a “Safe & Orderly Environment”.
“Our district made safety and security a high priority in 2018 when we highlighted that a large portion of the bond money would go to improve safety and security systems at all school campuses,” explained Dr. Lance Evans, Superintendent. The bond passed in September 2018 with a 92% success rate.
The NASD was assigned a full time Director of Safety that same year. Michael Erby, a 22-year veteran of the New Albany Police Department was assigned to this job and immediately began doing safety assessments. The data received from the assessments was reviewed by the School Board, Superintendent, Administrators, the Director of Safety and the school resource officers.
Constant improvements have been made from the safety assessments. When assessments are completed it gives you a score and action items to complete to improve your score. Some of the action items that the NASD has completed since 2018 are as follows:
- STOP IT APP-Used to anonymously report bulling or any suspect behavior
- Adjustments to safety plans for bomb threats, active shooter, visitors on campus and group gatherings
- Camera System-All campuses are monitored inside and outside 24 hours a day. The system allows for complete LOCKOUT or LOCKDOWN of the whole district from on or off campus.
- Access Controlled Points-All main entrances have been equipped with points to allow for monitored access to facilities thus increasing safety and security.
- Implemented LOCKOUT-This is to be used when there is an unsafe condition outside the building. This makes it clear that the threat was not inside the building.
- LOCKDOWN-LOCKS-LIGHTS-OUT OF SIGHT-this is used when the threat is inside the building (what to do is practiced and rehearsed throughout the school year)
- Communication is a big factor in safety and the NASD has upgraded their radio system. Administration, transportation and security now have radio contact across the school district and contact with 911.
- WHISTLE-All staff members were issued a whistle that can be heard up to a mile away. This is used to notify that some form of a possible threat has been seen.
- Drills and CRASE Training-Training staff how to respond to an active shooter event and conducting safety drills regularly.
The NASD continues to work to make our campuses as safe as possible. Listed below are some items and events that are upcoming:
- Threat Assessment Teams-This a targeted violence prevention plan to establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team of individuals who will direct, manage, and document the threat assessment process. This team will determine if the threat has merit or if it was a child just speaking out of frustration.
- Training of Staff-Gaining compliance (verbal judo). People don’t do what you want just because you think you are in control and what you say goes. Don’t call a student out in front of his friends, call him to the side and communicate with them.
“Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Erby. “We want to equip everyone with the tools and knowledge they need to be able to do everything they can to keep our students, staff and campuses safe.”