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SCPS Emphasizes School Safety for Students and Parents

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The SCPS District has made school safety a priority even before the state and federal school safety mandates. The district is focused on our mission to safeguard the safety and security of our students, staff, and property.

I’d like to start by sharing that it’s important to recognize that everyone plays a critical role in school safety. If you ever have any doubt about a situation, contact law enforcement immediately. 

The SCPS District has made school safety a priority even before the state and federal school safety mandates. The district is focused on our mission to safeguard the safety and security of our students, staff, and property. We have attempted to provide a secure learning environment through school design and physical hardening while balancing many different objectives that include:         

1) reducing risks

2) maintaining open access for students and staff, and

3) facilitating a learning environment, while complying with new school safety laws, required building codes, and standards. 

In our schools, we have presented a variety of avenues for “designing in” layers of security, starting with controlling access at the school’s perimeter and working inward to secure individual classrooms and other internal spaces. 

What Can Parents Do?

Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately. We will be overly transparent with our parents concerning risk mitigation efforts. When we declare a “threat” has been reported, investigated, and found noncreditable, and the school is safe, please allow your child to go to school. 

Make time to talk. Children do not always talk about their feelings readily. It is important to maintain open communication with children. If parents feel free to speak with administrators and staff about their children’s problems and budding disputes within the student body, it will go a long way toward defusing tensions within the school. 

Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home.         Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they can talk if they feel threatened or at risk. 

Remind your child. Students have an obligation to bring information about dangerous situations to adults at the school. (The safety and well-being of their friends and classmates are more important than the issue of tattling or narcing.) See Something, Say Something, Do Something! 

Social media. Parents and students can help make our schools safer by not passing along rumors. Instead, report them to a school administrator who will then investigate and turn the information over to the police, if necessary. Don’t post perceived campus safety issues or shortcomings on social media. This activity has the potential to place our children and staff at unnecessary risks. 

Follow your child’s progress on Skyward. Keep your contact information current in order to receive our communications. High and middle schoolers have the ability to receive school messenger alerts (e.g., lockdown notification). Enter your child’s cellular phone into the appropriate Skyward field. 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about school safety and security, please send them directly to my attention at School_Safety@SCPS.k12.fl.us.

Captain Rick Francis is the safety and security director of Seminole County Public Schools.

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