2016-17 Valley View Back-to-School Safety Message
From Leroy Brown, VVSD School Safety Coordinator
Because Valley View School District 365U strongly believes that keeping our children safe while they are at school is our top priority, we are confident that the facilities we maintain are among the safest in the country. None-the-less, because of incidents of frightening violence in the nation’s public school systems in recent years, VVSD has doubled and re-doubled its efforts when it comes to school safety.
Among our school safety-related measures:
- A Visitor Registry at every school: All visitors have to register with the front office before receiving access to the main portion of the building. This is currently handled through the Raptor System, which tracks a variety of information including Registered Sexual Offenders data. Since implementing the system, we have identified a number of Registered Sexual Offenders seeking to gain access to our schools.
- Closed circuit television cameras and monitors in all schools: Digital cameras monitor activity inside and out. Installation of these systems has resulted in a noticeable decline in vandalism at our schools and has aided investigations into activities in and around our schools.
- Controlled access to every school: All exterior building doors are remotely controlled and/or monitored. This allows for quicker response time in the event of an emergency during which doors either need to be accessible or locked.
- School Resource Officer (SRO) Program: VVSD has long enjoyed a partnership with the Bolingbrook and Romeoville police departments that includes the middle school and high school presence of officers trained to provide both security and education to our students. Both departments also conduct school safety programs for our elementary school students.
- Fire Safety Program: Both the Bolingbrook and the Romeoville fire departments conduct multiple fire drills throughout the school year to ensure that our students and staff are prepared for a quick exit from our buildings in the event of an emergency. Members of both departments also visit elementary schools to help students understand the importance of home fire safety. In addition, fire department personnel train district staff on the use of fire extinguishers.
- Security Department: The district employs a number of security professionals who work in patrol and dispatch, and as school grounds officers, assisting the SROs in safeguarding students, staff, visitors, and property.
- Emergency Response Training: Every school conducts a variety of emergency preparedness training drills each semester including shelter-for-severe-weather, shelter-in-place, biohazard issues, general evacuation, reverse evacuation, lockdown, and various dangerous situations including issues requiring an expeditious return to the building, imminent danger within the school property, and dangerous situation away from the school property that could impact the school. Note: During a soft lockdown, normal routine within the school is maintained however doors are secured, with no one allowed to enter or leave the facility. During a hard lockdown, students and staff are required to sit or kneel on the floor in the nearest classroom or office with doors locked and lights off.
- Crisis Communication Plan: The district has a robust system in place whereby key administrators are promptly informed of an emergency situation. Parents and other stakeholders will be informed as quickly as possible through either ParentLink or VVSD social media. Our goal is to quickly and accurately communicate essential facts to first responders and then to district staff, parents and community members while maintaining the safety of our children throughout an event.
I am confident that we have the people, process, and infrastructure in place throughout our district to help safeguard our children. If and when an emergency arises, our district staff is thoroughly trained to respond in a timely and accurate manner.
School safety is everyone’s business. Together, we can continue to create a broad and superior security network to keep our students and staff as safe as possible.