The Board of Education made the decision to take a comprehensive approach to school security in 1994. In early 1995, the District hired the Director of Security who was charged with creating and maintaining a comprehensive safe schools plan. This safe schools plan is a comprehensive set of coordinated efforts both at the school and district level, all aimed at three components: prevention, intervention and, when necessary, enforcement. It is a constantly evolving document. These efforts involve making students accountable for their actions, staff training in crisis management and managing difficult students, crime prevention, threat assessment, bullying and violence prevention, physical security and police partnerships. School District 11 believes that school safety is basic to a productive learning environment and optimum student achievement. This belief is codified in the District’s Strategic Plan and in the Vision, Mission and Guiding Principals of the School Safety and Security Department.
School District 11 has a code of school conduct and discipline, which governs student behavior. This code has been sent or delivered to every district household. In addition, schools and classrooms often devise individual rules of conduct. The Conduct and Discipline is updated regularly as needed and is posted on the website between printings.
The Board of Education has specifically expressed no tolerance for some specific types of behavior, including gang activity, possession and/or use of weapons and possession or use of illicit drugs or alcohol. Zero tolerance means that when school officials observe these activities, they are obligated to take appropriate disciplinary actions as defined in the Conduct and Discipline code. Zero tolerance does not mean a student will always be expelled for the behavior, but it does mean that some disciplinary action will be taken. However, state and federal law require expulsion in some instances.
Campus Security Officers: There are 5-7 campus security officers at each high school and 1-2 campus security officers at each middle school. Campus security officers are co-managed by building principals and district security. These staff members help principals enforce the student conduct and discipline code, assist students in dealing with conflict and instances of sexual or racial harassment, monitor the campus for unwanted visitors and signs of danger or criminal activity. They provide security at athletic and other special events. All campus security officers receive approximately 40 hours of training in crisis prevention, first aid, CPR, recognition of racial and sexual harassment, school law and juvenile law before being placed at a school.
District Security Officers: The district employs 10 armed district security officers. District security officers are police academy trained or equivalent. These officers patrol district grounds and buildings, respond to all burglar alarms, enforce district policies on campus and generally engage in the protection of lives and property at District 11 facilities. These officers also respond to trouble or other calls for service at elementary schools and, if needed, at middle and high schools. In addition, they provide security at athletic events, special events and Board meetings.
Crossing Guards: Crossing guards are stationed at locations selected by the City traffic engineer to protect students and ensure they cross the streets safely. These staff members are recruited and paid by the district, with partial reimbursement from the City by an intergovernmental agreement. They are trained by the Risk Management department, and managed by the building principals where they are assigned.
Professional Security Staff: The Director of Security Operations provides overall management and program leadership for school security issues and is the School District liaison to the Police Department. In addition, 2 security Managers provide training and technical assistance to buildings for security and crime problems. The security managers co-supervise campus security with the school principal. These staff members monitor gang and hate group trends, provide specialized gang intervention, and conduct investigations of students charged with crimes of violence and weapons violations, in cooperation with the police and District Attorney. They also investigate some crimes that occur on district property and make referrals to the police department as necessary. They monitor crime trends and devise crime prevention programs.
Support Staff: The security department has a support staff of two, a Security Specialist and a Dispatcher/Admin Assistant.
The security department conducts legally required fingerprinting and background investigations on all non-licensed employees. The department conducts investigations required by law on students charged with crimes of violence, investigations related to victim rights, internal criminal investigations (other than child abuse and sexual assault) and monitors police investigations of staff for serious violations. The security department is responsible for making legally required notifications to the principals of students charged with criminal conduct. Threat assessment investigations are conducted on students who have made or posed threats to other students or staff in conjunction with police and other agencies.
The School Security Department provides training to security staff and other school and district staff in bully prevention, dealing with difficult adolescents, crisis management, gang recognition and interdiction, workplace violence, crime prevention, threat assessment and general school safety. All crossing guards are trained through the Risk Management Department. Professional staff are often called upon for training and presentations to outside agencies.
Open Schools and School Visitation:
In accordance with Board Policy KI and KFA, visitors are invited and encouraged in schools. While on school property, visitors must abide by all laws and School Board policies and regulations. Visitors must check in with the school office prior to visiting any part of the school.
Equipment and Facilities:
Security headquarters contains offices for the Director of Security Operations, security managers, security investigator, and patrol staff and video monitoring equipment which monitors all district facilities. All school buildings are equipped with two-way radios for communication within the building and with the central security office. District security is connected with police, fire and emergency personnel via the City’s public safety radio network. Campus security offices are located in each middle school and high school.
School Resource Officers are stationed in four high schools and one alternative school five days per week. In addition, five SRO's are assigned five days a week to nine middle schools and one SRO is assigned to roving duties to assist schools as needed. SROs also support elementary schools on an as-needed basis. These officers perform community-policing and criminal investigation functions in cooperation with school security and administration staff. This is an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) program.
The Security Department also participates in The Fire and Life Safety Consortium, which is led by the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
Reporting of criminal conduct: In accordance with state law, criminal events occurring on school campuses are reported to the police department, through the school resource officers or the security department.
Safe 2 Tell: Confidential reporting program. This program provides a confidential reporting mechanism for students who observe criminal activity or who are concerned about someone who might harm themselves or others.
Emergency communications: The District security department is connected to the Pikes Peak Regional Radio Communications Network, including local police and fire departments for use in an emergency. This is an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) program and also governed by memoranda of understanding with specific agencies.
El Paso County Office of Emergency Management: The Director of Security Operations represents the District at the Office of Emergency Management. The District is regularly invited and participates in training, exercises and emergency operations planning.
Crisis planning, prevention and management:
Training on early warning signs and crisis planning has been on going since fall, 1998. The District Emergency Operations Manual is continually updated. Additionally, schools have developed individualized crisis plans and crisis/safety training for students and staff that are reviewed annually by the District security department. Documentation of these reviews is on file at the District security department. The District security department has also provided two quick reference guides for schools and has promulgated specific instructions for terrorism preparedness. These documents may be reviewed at the school or at the security department. Post-trauma assistance is available either through existing building staff, special district teams, or by referral to other agencies. The Manager of Security Operations develops and maintains the Emergency operations plan and chairs the District Emergency Operations Committee (EOC), which convenes in times of major crises. Additionally, the Manager of Security Operations sits on several local crisis planning committees and task forces with local emergency management officials. School District 11 uses the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) when responding to emergencies.
Canine interdiction program:
The canine detection program for detecting drugs and alcohol is in full operation. The program is very effective in detecting contraband items on campus. A canine team goes to randomly selected schools throughout the year to inspect student lockers and vehicles for drugs and alcohol.
School Security Audits:
The security department conducts audits of the crisis plans, emergency procedures, crisis training and crime prevention efforts at every school annually. Reports of these audits are maintained on file at the Security Department office.
The School Board policy concerning bullying is attached to this safe schools plan.
The District adopted the Bully Proofing Your School Program for use in elementary and middle school. This program is very similar to a Blueprint Program recognized by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and is being studied for possible inclusion as a Blueprint or promising program. Over 225 staff members were trained as implementation teams for each school. A baseline climate survey has been or will be done by each school to determine current needs and directions for program development. A bully-proofing program is really never fully implemented, but rather is an on-going effort and we will continue to offer updated training as needed.
The District adopted the Get Real About Violence program for use in high schools. This program is also nationally recognized and eligible for funding with Safe and Drug Free Schools and Community funds. Training for staff implementation teams for this program was completed December 5, 2002. The program curriculum will be delivered to 9th and 10th graders in health classes, but the implementation should be school-wide. A baseline survey to determine current attitudes and perceptions of bullying and other violence is completed.
Threat assessment begins at the school level, with principals, counselors, assistant principals all receiving training in the early warning signs of violence and specific instruction in the threat assessment process.
Violence prevention: All of the above efforts are, of course, aimed at the prevention and reduction of violence in and around our schools.