Renton Schools is Committed to Student and Staff Safety and Security
Student safety and school security is always forefront on the minds of school principals, teachers, administrators and other support staff. We have a deep commitment and resolve to keep students and staff safe at school. We continue to refine proactive measures to help support the safety and security of all students and staff. Here are some of the highlights of our work:
- In Renton Schools, we have a Safety and Security Department, led by Jamie Sidell, a former Auburn Police Commander, and staffed by specialists in campus security, law enforcement, and emergency management. District and school security and safety officers continue training on student relationship building, deescalation training, and other professional development. (District and school safety officers attended Right Response training in December to be better prepared to work with children and teens in possibly volatile situations.) School and district-wide security and safety coverage has been revised to provide ample coverage from 7 a.m. to midnight each day.
- Our school staff take a multi-pronged approach to student safety by conducting regular safety drills (including lockdown drills). Our school and district safety and security team help train staff in how to keep our students safe during emergencies. We work with staff to provide communication channels for teachers and students to report anything that appears unusual or threatening.
- We have highly-trained Renton Police Officers in our high schools as part of our School Resource Officer program. These professionals work closely with our district and School Safety Officers to also provide safety and security to middle and high schools, and to quickly identify and investigate any potential threat.
- We continue to refine our practices along with police agencies to review all safety and security measures. Under the guidance of Director Sidell, we are taking a holistic approach to school safety; and considering many security-related measures (e.g., school design/layout; before school; lunch; passing time; after school; etc.).
- Our Facilities Director is reviewing current building designs and systems already in place and determining immediate and future school building needs. We are conducting a comprehensive study on school camera systems; anticipating the need to update and install some cameras and server equipment at schools.
- A district-wide assessment of school safety and security systems is conducted over the next few weeks as the district moves to establish the Citizens Facilities Advisory Committee to create the long-range facilities plan for school building renovations, upgrades and improvements. Part of that work will include review of video surveillance equipment, door locking devices, card access, glazing, and building interior and exterior design.
Connecting with Students on Social, Emotion Level
Beyond safety and security procedures, we work to support students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs. Making meaningful connections and relationships with students is the most impactful way we can work to keep all students safe. Working with our community partner organizations, we surround students with support by:
- co-locating community health and mental health services in schools;
- identifying students with higher anti-social risk factors or who are distanced or alienated from school;
- developing restorative justice practices and alternatives to suspension and expulsion;
- emphasizing connections and fostering trusting and positive relationships between staff and students;
- offering an array of extracurricular activities that ensure the involvement of all students;
- and teaching conflict resolution, citizenship and social competency with a focus on respect, dignity, sensitivity to others, and inclusion.
Students who feel connected and engaged with their school and community more often launch into young adulthood with a sense of direction and hope, and are less likely to break the social contract of respect and safety for others.
Our work to keep students and staff safe at school is on-going, steadfast, meaningful and evidenced-based. This work doesn’t just spring into action in times of an incident or crisis; we’re committed to this work, daily. It is our promise to parents, families, students, staff and our communities.