Return to Headlines

Feb 15, 2018 - Safety Protocol Message

February 15, 2018

Leer en español.

Plano ISD extends heartfelt condolences to the families of Parkland, Florida, on behalf of all schoolchildren. During any tragedy, we never lose sight of the trauma experienced by others while also taking stock of our own precautionary measures that we observe daily.

  • Each year, during the first week of school, every student in grades three and above, and every campus staff member, reviews a thirty-minute training video on the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) which provides a uniform, efficient process for students and staff to take the emergency actions of Lockdown, Lockout, Evacuate and Shelter. Our local law enforcement partners have also been provided information on the SRP so that they are aware of how our campuses will respond in an emergency.
  • Plano ISD campus administrators have received training from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Incident Command Systems for Schools, and refresher training on incident command systems each year.
  • During the first ten days of school, every campus conducts a lockdown drill, a reverse-evacuation drill, a fire/evacuation drill and a shelter/tornado drill. At regular intervals throughout the school year, each campus conducts two additional lockdown drills as well as other drills.
  • Plano ISD has visitor access control procedures that require parents and visitors to provide identification and wear a visitor ID badge upon entering the secure areas of a campus.
  • The vestibule entry configurations at most campuses require a visitor to enter the school office and exit a separate office door prior to reaching the secure areas of the school.
  • Each campus has received an emergency procedures “quick reference” guide and every employee has been given access to an electronic version of the district’s emergency procedures that can be installed on their smart phones for easy access.  Each of these references provides information on the SRP, including what we call the “option to run” if a specific threat makes running/fleeing safer than resorting to a “standard” lockdown.  
  • Every campus has a district-wide radio that allows emergency communication and backup communication in the event of a telephone outage.
  • We have provided our surrounding law enforcement partners with key cards/access codes to our schools to facilitate rapid entry during an emergency.
  • Campus first responders are trained twice per year on emergency first aid, and our school nurses train annually on the use of emergency trauma techniques and have specialized equipment on hand.  
  • Each of our high schools and senior high schools is staffed with a fulltime School Resource Officer (SRO). Each of these police officers participates in annual active shooter/rapid deployment training. Our SROs have also attended emergency trauma training and have specialized emergency equipment on hand.
  • Elementary and middle schools are patrolled throughout the school day by uniformed, contract police officers in marked police vehicles (Campus Protection Officer (CPO) Program). These officers could be deployed quickly to other campuses in the event of extreme emergencies, supplementing the response by regular on-duty officers.
  • Plano ISD maintains a close working relationship with area law enforcement agencies and our administrators are kept abreast of developing situations. We have every confidence that all available resources would be deployed by law enforcement should the need arise to assist the school district with a critical incident.

Protecting our students and staff in the daily instructional environment is our most closely held priority. In the coming weeks, we will be reviewing and discussing our security practices in the wake of the Florida tragedy. Security measures are under constant review, and Plano ISD is very progressive in its approach to safety. We want our campuses to be welcoming to our school community, but we will be ever vigilant of safety first.

Tips from the National Association of School Psychologists about what parents/teachers can do at times like this:

  • Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
  • Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient. Children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily.
  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
    • Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.
    • Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.
    • Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.
  • Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.
  • Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.
  • Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.
  • Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.