By Stephanie Carlson Curtis
Violence in our schools can occur anywhere, at any time, at any level of education. Are your children safe at school? Carmel Clay School administrators believe the district has implemented proactive procedures to ensure safety and execute an efficient response in the event of an emergency situation in order to protect students and faculty.
According to Steven Dillon, Director of Student Services for CCS, each school in the CCS district has well-developed emergency plans and crisis response teams which provide guidance to administration and staff in a variety of potentially-threatening incidents. “The most recent tragic event at Sandy Hook has touched all our lives. Every shooting is very sad, but Sandy Hook has crossed a new line because it involves elementary age students. This most recent event has caused us all to reflect on our safety measures and to reinforce our daily procedures that are designed to keep our students as safe as possible while providing them a quality education.”
While many response plan details are confidential, CCS has engaged visible resources such as School Gate Guardian, a software program that uses driver’s license information to confirm identity, searches a national database for registered sex offenders, and checks in legitimate school visitors. Other safety nets include locked entries and doorbell systems, school resources officers, anonymous alert, video cameras, K-9 searches, severe weather drills, and lockdown exercises. In addition, the school administrators have built well-defined partnerships with Carmel police and fire first responders.
“They are very involved in our buildings and assist us in running and supervising our emergency drills and reviewing our emergency response plans,” said Dillon. “While no emergency will be exactly like the plans that we have developed, these plans are developed in conjunction with the Carmel Police Department and we feel positive about our ability to respond to a variety of emergencies.” The district practices drills with the student body on a regular basis and evaluates the efficiency of existing procedures, retraining and making adjustments as needed.
“We currently have School Safety Specialists in three quarters of our schools with the remaining scheduled to be trained in 2013-14,” said Dillon. Indiana’s Department of Education provides instruction and resources for faculty covering security, intervention, prevention, and preparedness planning through the Indiana School Safety Specialist Academy.
If a crisis occurs, CCS will activate its district-wide School Messenger System to notify parents of an emergency via email, text messaging, and phone communication. “Additionally, parents will find updated information on the Carmel Clay Schools website and on the CCS Facebook page,” said Dillon.
To learn more about school safety and specialist training for Indiana’s educators, visit http://www.doe.in.gov/student-services/safety. For more details regarding safety measures in place in the Carmel-Clay School system, visit the CCS website at http://www1.ccs.k12.in.us/district/student-services/school-safety.