District's Safety Team builds a coalition

District's Safety Team builds a coalition to address student safety
Posted on 02/27/2019
CM 201-U School Safety

Risk management and school safety experts all agree – collaboration is the key to creating safe schools. The Office of District Affairs has led the charge to engage all of the district’s stakeholders in creating an ongoing dialogue and building a framework for how to work together to keep our schools safe. The District’s School Safety Team is tasked with assessing, training, and implementing changes that will help better prepare our school community in the event of a crisis. It is comprised of building and central office administrators, district nurse, communications director, board member, food service director, building & grounds supervisor, superintendent’s secretary, local police, fire, and first responders.

From active shooter training with teachers and staff to regular meetings with state and local law enforcement to identifying safe evacuation sites with our local fire departments, the District Safety Team has begun the important work of building a coalition throughout our school community to successfully handle threats to safety. "We are proud of the progress that we have made in such a short time," said Dr. Rochelle Clark, Assistant Superintendent of District Affairs. "We have greatly increased communication between our schools and police, built stronger relationships with all four of our villages, gained the approval to hire two School Resource Officers (SROs), and begun upgrading building floor plans, radios, and video surveillance," she said. Dr. Clark adds that the district has also started an important discussion with local businesses to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to evacuation and reunification sites in the event of a natural disaster.

Members of the safety team recently ran mock drills during its Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) Training at Crete-Monee High School. Staff in attendance remarked at how "eye-opening" the training was in helping them better understand and mentally prepare for any threat. The popular ALICE training model is noted for moving trainees from a passive to proactive response strategy. “While we may never be able to prevent an attack, the training I have received has empowered me to help prepare my colleagues,” said CMMS Asst. Principal and District Safety Team member Gregory Schneider. "Because what we know is that having a physical barrier is not enough," he added.

"ALICE training brings everything you have heard to reality," said Board Secretary and District Safety Team member Jeanine Galbraith. "When participating in the different drills you experience the old way of preparing and the new way. Hiding under a table and wishing for the best is no longer an option. I know that because of this training. I’m much better prepared and look forward to the continuous learning," she added.

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