School Safety in CCISD

School Safety in CCISD
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Dear Parents and Staff,

It is a difficult day in our nation as we collectively grieve the loss of 17 children and adults in Florida. We may not know them personally, but we feel their family’s pain. Our own children do as well, which is why I am writing you today to outline what we have in place to reassure our students that their school is a safe and nurturing place to learn and grow.

We have increased police visibility at our schools to remind parents, students and staff that school safety is paramount to education in CCISD. There has been no threat against our schools. Our school counselors, teachers and administrators are available to students who need support in processing the horrifying shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and that support will always be there. They are also keeping an eye out for children who may be having a hard time but not necessarily seeking assistance.

In the area of fortifying our schools, the school district commissioned a safety audit shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012. Through this assessment, we have made safety improvements to our schools. 

Secure Vestibule/Electronic Access Control – All 26 elementary schools have been renovated and equipped with new security vestibules. These vestibules are electronically locked and controlled from the main office. These controls are also in place at all intermediate and high schools.  The doors at all school entrances have been replaced with industry-rated, bullet-resistant glass. 

Video Surveillance – All campus common areas, access points and school perimeters are monitored and footage recorded via video surveillance. In 2015, CCISD began using the Hall Pass Visitor Management System that conducts an enhanced National Criminal Database Search on all volunteers as well as an automatic sex offender registry check on all visitors to a campus. 

Perimeter Fencing – New fencing was erected at all elementary campuses to create a separation of space where students are engaged in outdoor activities. This measure also controls access to the public during the school day, except through the intended secure access point at the front office.

Intercom Systems – Substandard intercom systems were replaced at 17 campuses providing for a more reliable system for general paging, bell operations and emergency communications.

Mental Health Training - CCISD counselors, licensed specialists in school psychology, nurses, and sheriff liaison officers have been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid, an intensive sequence of courses which trains staff on how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness. This training is open to the public on a monthly basis. CCISD employs 29 licensed specialists in school psychology. 

In the area of youth mental health, which is a national issue, we are moving forward with plans to increase mental health assessments and referrals for students. We will accomplish this goal through hiring additional counseling and student psychology staff. The Clear Creek Independent School District will also partner with the Gulf Coast Center to coordinate referrals, resources and counseling for students in order to assist in crisis response and crisis prevention. 

Communication is paramount to any safety and prevention plan. We will reinforce to our students that if they see something or hear something that is of concern, notify an adult immediately. 

While I am proud of the efforts taken to keep our students safe, I also recognize that we cannot let an incident like yesterday pass without our own reflection of current practices and what we can do to better serve our community. 

In closing, talking with children about the school shooting in Florida can be difficult for even the most-trained adult, which is why the school district is offering the attached resources for parents and staff from the National Association of School Psychologists. Parent and Teacher Resources 

 

Thank you,

Greg Smith, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Clear Creek Independent School District


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