School Safety and Crisis Preparedness
At our main entrances, our secretaries check people in through our secure vestibules and then ask for photo identification from all visitors. The ID card is then scanned through a secure system to verify that the visitor is not on a sex offender registry and that there is a valid reason for the visitor to be in the school. All visitors are scanned in our offices--even if our building secretaries know you. All other doors are locked and secured after the start of each school day.
Safety Planning with Lake Bluff Police Department
We evaluate and modify our safety and security plans as an ongoing practice. Regular meetings are held between the Village of Lake Bluff Police Department and our school administrative teams to recommend changes in practices, review procedures, and implement changes.
Each year, our staff and students participate in training sessions and drills to prepare for worst-case scenarios in our schools. Staff members participate in emergency lockdown/violent intruder simulation to practice their response to such an event. Working with the Lake Bluff Police Department and other emergency response professionals, District 65 trains its staff members to deploy A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) emergency response techniques. These preparations are in addition to the standard safety drills, including fire, severe weather, bus evacuation, and shelter in place.
After a safety drill or other emotionally challenging incident, children may have questions about the event and this is very typical. We offer several resources for parents and families to assist in conversations:
- Talking with Your Children About School Safety (from the National Association of School Psychologists)
Talking with Your Children About Violence (from the National Association of School Psychologists)
Talking with Your Children About School Safety (from the National Association of School Psychologists)
Additionally, our teachers in the early elementary grades use the book "I'm Not Scared, I'm Prepared," to help children prepare for a safety drill.
The people in and around our schools are an essential resource for ensuring student and staff safety. As we’ve shared, people who are at-risk often show signs or signals before an act of violence happens. This is part of the reason we have the Text-a-Tip reporting system (anyone in need of support can text 847Help to 844-823-5323 to be connected to a crisis counselor 24-hours a day, 7 days, week), which allows anyone to make a report without being identified.
We are also pleased to introduce our new Gaggle SpeakUp System which will allow any student to send a text or email to Gaggle 24-hours a day, 7 days per week about bullying, harassment, unsafe behaviors, or students of concern. Students can send a text to 847-786-0090 or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Gaggle system has live monitors who determine the immediacy of a threat and then get into contact with our school teams or local law enforcement as needed.
We also have extensive support systems inside of our schools for students in crisis or who are facing life challenges. Students who are struggling with social-emotional issues are supported by our school social workers and psychologists. When necessary, we tap into additional community resources through the North Suburban Special Education District and other community agencies like LEAD. It is important to us that every student be surrounded by a team of people who are supporting them as a whole child. Teams meet regularly to identify students who may need additional support, brainstorm interventions, and assess the effectiveness of the interventions.
Parents play an essential role as partners with us in identifying students that might need additional help and should reach out to their child's teacher or to a school social worker if they need resources.
Safety is a Community Effort
In a world with ever-changing challenges and dangers, it is essential that our entire community is united in supporting our students. Please help us in these efforts. If you ever see or hear of a concern that our schools should be aware of, please do not hesitate to reach out using the tools on our website, or email, call, or stop by and see an administrator.
Caring for our students is a daily priority for us. We will continue to support one another and share in the responsibility of keeping one another safe.