The new school year is well underway. Students are settling into their learning routines and staff are busy providing engaging and rigorous curriculum. All of this buzz and activity is taking place with a renewed focus of student and staff safety. A key component of school safety is a positive school climate, and the relationships between adults and students. In addition to supporting a positive school climate, our schools are enhancing school safety. Our enhanced safety protocols for the 2018-19 school focus on the following areas:
● Access to schools is limited to one main monitored entrance. The main office in each school will implement procedures that require the identification and intended purpose of every visitor to our schools.
● Visible visitor name badges. Visitor badges allow staff to immediately identify a visitor. All visitors, including parent volunteers, are expected to wear visitor badges. Information about our new visitor information management system is below.
● Student identification badges. Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, all students are required to have identification badges with lanyards. Schools will implement developmentally appropriate practices with the badges.
● Anonymous tip line system. This year we are launching an anonymous tip line system that students, parents, and community members can use. Our partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation is also detailed below.
● ALICE is the district’s new response system to emergencies involving school intruder scenarios.
● School Resource Officers. We are grateful for our partnership with Chief Sonnabend and the Barnstable Police Department. Through the efforts of Mark Ells, Town Manager, Barnstable Public Schools has four members of the Barnstable Police Department serving in the capacity of full time School Resource Officers.
Visitor Management System
Beginning in October all BPS schools will begin using a new visitor management system known as Raptor.
Raptor is a web-based, software program developed to help schools keep track of and manage their visitors, students and faculty. Raptor allows school staff to easily log visitors, produce visitors’ badges and check all visitors against registered sex offender databases.
All visitors will be required to check-in in the school’s main office before going anywhere else in the building. Office staff will require all visitors to provide an acceptable form of identification, which staff will scan into the Raptor system. The system only scans the visitor’s name, birth date and photo. The visitor’s information is then automatically compared to a national database of registered sex offenders from all 50 states. If a match is found an alert will be generated. If there is no match, a visitor’s badge will be generated and the visitor will be permitted to proceed to their intended destination. The visitor’s badge must be worn at all times.
Say Something Partnership
This year BPS is partnering with the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation (SHPF) to introduce and provide middle and high school students access to the “Say Something” phone app, website and hotline. “Say Something” is an anonymous reporting system intended to help students know how to look for warning signs, signals and threats - especially on social media- from individuals who may want to hurt themselves or others and to “Say Something” to a trusted adult or by using the anonymous reporting system.
Staff from the SHPF will be in Barnstable in October to introduce the system and provide student training.
The District has formally transitioned to the ALICE protocol (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) as an emergency response. ALICE emphasizes proactive, options-based strategies during a school-intruder emergency.
Over the summer all BPS staff were provided an opportunity to complete an online ALICE training course. During the 2018-2019 school year we will continue to provide training and drills for staff to implement this best practice emergency response.
In Barnstable we remain committed to ensuring that all of our students attend schools that are safe, welcoming, and nurturing.