Student Wellness and School Security

Focusing on Student Wellness and School Security/Safety

 

Our first and best efforts in seeking a safe school environment is found in the strength of our relationships and our willingness to communicate with one another.  We have to operate with a belief that communication occurs with the best of intentions.  When we operate with the assumption of good intentions rather than judgment, we are able to facilitate more productive conversations and intervention efforts.  We believe when our students have strong relationships within our school system and when they are engaged in the school culture, we are maximizing our efforts for a safer school environment.  Much like our efforts through the course of the pandemic, when a community is committed to one another, we can overcome almost anything.

 

While we believe that relationships are critical to our efforts, there are some very practical efforts and systems that we have in place as well.  We would like to provide our stakeholders with more insight to our efforts around being attentive to the wellness of our students and the security/safety of our school campuses.

 

Student Support System: Safe2Help

As we have progressed out of the pandemic and with so many challenges facing our children today, it has become clear that some children and families are facing very real distress in their lives.  A group of students from Naperville, IL formed an organization called “Beyond Charity.”  A critical initiative that came from that organization made its way into law in Illinois and was unanimously passed by the Illinois General Assembly and enacted by the Governor.  The law provides that every student from 6th grade to Seniors in HS have ID cards that provide links and phone numbers for crisis services.  In a recent data release, it was revealed that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people.

 

Available resources:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

  • Dial 988 to speak with a trained counselor

  • Text HOME to 741741 to speak to a volunteer counselor

  • Website: Safe2HelpIL.com

    • Dial: 844-4-SAFEIL

    • Text: SAFE2

    • EMail: HELP@Safe2HelpIL.com

 

Threat Assessment Team

  • Purpose: 

    • A fact-based investigative and analytical approach that focuses on what a particular student is doing and saying; and not on whether the student "looks like" those who have created conflict in schools in the past.  Threat assessment emphasizes the importance of such behavior and communications for identifying, evaluating, and reducing the risk posed by a student who may be thinking about or planning to create conflict in our schools, and identifying the appropriate interventions, resources, and supports to manage that risk.

  • Planning

    • Annual Behavioral Threat Assessment Team meetings as mandated by the Illinois State Board of Education.  Annual professional development is commonly conducted by Local Law Enforcement, FBI, Secret Service, and Homeland Security

  • Responding

    • The immediate goal of a Threat Assessment process is to ensure the safety of all students and our school community.

    • Not intended to be punitive, but as an intervention to protect the target of a threat and the individual making the threat.

    • Once determination of the validity of the threat has been determined, the submission of Clear and Present Danger form to Illinois State Police is a requirement.

    • Work with the Building Principal to determine the most appropriate mitigation or discipline if necessary and according to the student handbook and district policy.

    • Assist in determining the communication necessary with our internal and external stakeholder groups

    • Perform an after-action review

  • Membership

    • Chair: Steve Reschke, LPA Principal

    • Sean Spencer, School Resource Officer

    • Kelsey Winterland, Associate HS Principal

    • Jon Simon, Student Services

    • Wendy Welter, Social Worker

    • Julie Hesse, School Psychologist

  • What stakeholders can expect in general:

    • Whenever there is a threat of any kind that is brought to our attention, an initial investigation begins.  That initial investigation can take on many forms and can involve interviews or even a lock down and hard search.  It really depends on the nature of the situation.  We do not communicate on a broad scale until we know more about what we are dealing with and who all may be impacted.

    • A determination is made using as many resources as necessary about the reasonableness of the threat.  We recognize the challenge that exists here between the concept of zero tolerance and ignoring the situation.  We believe that our staff and our TAT have a strong enough relationship with our students and our parents to make appropriate judgements and when in doubt will always lean to a response that protects our students in the most appropriate manner.

    • After leveraging the best most immediate mitigation, the investigation will continue and conversations will be on-going with directly impacted students, parents, and agencies if necessary.  If necessary general communication may be provided more broadly to an entire building or district.

    • There is a lot of confidential work that takes place with any student or students responsible for creating a threatening situation.  We are frequently engaging with the family and outside agencies to work through the underlying cause of the threat.  This process does take time and is completely confidential.  Most of the time, there will never be any communication about the specific response to student discipline.

    • When the TAT concludes the initial process there are two roles that remain, 1) assess the situation as it has recently occurred and perform an after-action process to ensure that we've responded appropriately and where we have not, make recommendations for corrective actions, and 2) determine the most reasonable outcome for next steps as it impacts the student or students, their peers, and our school system.  When that is determined, we communicate with those who are ultimately impacted by the decision, which may only be a small group of students/parents or may be the entire district, depending on the situation.

Risk Management and Crisis Planning

  • The purpose of the LeRoy CUSD #2 Risk Management Team is to utilize a proactive approach to the management of our exposure to liability.  Our focus is to impact both practice and policy.  It is through this planning approach that we intend to improve the safety of our facilities, grounds, programs, and process for our community, staff, and students.

    • The Risk Management Team performs eight strategic tasks

      • Review of the Tort Budget

      • Review of safety plans and associated professional development to reduce the likelihood of workplace injury

      • Review of the district Crisis Plan

      • Review of liability and property insurance

      • Review of facility and building security plans

      • Review of associated policies

      • Makes recommendations for procedural changes

  • The purpose of the LeRoy CUSD #2 Crisis Management Team is to design protocols to respond to different types of emergencies that may occur within the school community.  The objective is to consider man-made as well as naturally occurring emergencies and develop the appropriate protocols for the response as well as design and schedule regular professional development to increase the probability of an appropriate response.  The second tier objective is to ensure there is a well-aligned communication plan for each type of emergency that may occur.

Supporting Artifacts (PDF)