Safety & Security
Schools are among the safest places to be on a day-to-day basis, according to all statistical evidence available. In the Renton School District, we strive to be proactive regarding all facets of safety and invite you to be our partners in ensuring a safe learning environment.
Our role is to ensure the safety of district students and staff as well as the security and protection of school district property. Patrol Officers respond to security needs throughout the entire district. School Safety Officers are resident security personnel located at each high school and middle school. The Safety & Security Manager is responsible for emergency preparedness, supervising personnel, managing numerous priorities, systems, and program guidelines, policies and procedures.
School Security (24 hrs)
Weapons Hotline (24 hrs)
- What We Do
- Public Service Web Resources
- District Work to Provide School Safety and Security
- Connecting with Students on a Social, Emotional Level
- School Safety and Security Terms
- Safety Preparedness Plans and Protocols
SECURITY TEAM APPROACH
- Safeguard students, staff employees, and visitors at each district facility.
- Safeguard district buildings, grounds, equipment, and other valuable assets.
- Safeguard non-district property temporarily or permanently used by the district.
- Respond with appropriate actions to emergencies from policies governing Scope of Duty.
- Maintain direct communications with first-responders.
The district is prepared to handle various emergencies (weapons, accidents, fire, lockdown, earthquake, etc.).
The district maintains active partnerships with the King County Office of Emergency Management (KCOEM), City of Renton’s Emergency Operations Center (CREOC), Operations Team, Renton Police Department (RPD), Renton Fire Department (RFD), Valley Communications Center (VCC), and Washington Alarm Company (WAC) to manage anomalies that have and/or could occur within district.
DID YOU KNOW?
- We actively patrol the district 24/7/365 with on-call rotational shifts?
- We monitor cameras, respond to alarms, and test emergency communications equipment?
- We have emergency equipped vehicles?
- Our High Schools and Middle Schools have assigned School Safety Officers on each campus?
- Our High Schools have a dedicated School Resource Officer (SRO) on each campus?
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 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 Jeff Dowhaniuk who comes to us most recently from Northwest Educational Service District 189 where he worked as the Threat Assessment Program Manager. Previously, he served as a detective, crisis negotiator, field training officer, and school resource officer with the City of Mount Vernon. While assigned as a SRO with the Mount School District, Jeff earned his Career and Technical Education (CTE) teaching license in 2010. He taught introduction to criminal justice at Mount Vernon High School for six years while simultaneously serving as the school resource officer.
- School and district-wide security and safety coverage has been revised to provide ample coverage 24 hours per day. District and school security and safety officers continue training on student relationship building, de escalation training, and other professional development, include training to be better prepared to work with children and teens in possibly volatile situations.
- Our school staff take a multi-pronged approach to student safety by conducting regular safety drills, including lockout 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 continue to refine our practices along with police agencies to review all safety and security measures, constantly reviewing school design/layout, before/after school activities, lunchtime and passing time, and more.
Thanks to voter support in the 2016 School Construction ballot measure, Renton School District continues to improve safety and security by upgrading and installing additional high-definition cameras and recording devices in schools throughout the district.
Along with our many safety and security practices, and the support of our school and district security professionals and Renton police officers assigned as School Resources Officers, the additional cameras will help ensure that all schools and grounds can be monitored consistently and effectively.
The camera installation process includes school walk-throughs with school principals and district staff from safety and security, facilities, and technology to determine camera locations and infrastructure needs, to provide interior camera coverage of all common spaces (hallways, gymnasiums, cafeterias, etc.) and exterior cameras in key areas outside of the building. Installation of cameras will help to monitor hallways, entrances, and school grounds; deter crime or bullying; discourage vandalism and trespassing; and greatly aid in gathering information in the event of an incident.
While we’ve had cameras in middle and high schools, these new cameras offer much improved video and images and will be installed at all schools to provide equity throughout the district.
Renton School District has highly-trained Renton Police Officers assigned to our 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.
School Resource Officers are responsible for the safety and security of Renton schools, and the surrounding communities, through actions of law enforcement, informal counseling, and law related education.
Through these three actions, School Resource Officers create positive relationships with students, teachers, staff, parents/guardians, community program leaders, community members, and other law enforcement agencies.
These positive relationships can help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the youth of the community. School Resource Officers are role models, a face for the police department, and an example of community-based policing at the highest 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.
To be consistent across Renton School District, we have developed the following list of terms to use in emergency situations
School Security Officer - Trained security personnel on duty at all high schools and middle schools.
School Resource Officer (SRO) - Uniformed police department officers assigned to schools to help build and maintain relationships between police, students, families, staff, and administrators.
Drill - The practice of a specific safety circumstance designed to prepare staff and students to act quickly and minimize questions and fears should an emergency take place.
Lockout - Used when there is police or animal control activity or a potential danger in the vicinity near a school, such as a wild animal nearby or police pursuit in the area, schools will go into a Lockout mode. This includes locking all perimeter doors but continuing instruction inside a secure building and keeping students off playgrounds or passing between buildings. No one is allowed to enter the building. (Used in replacement of Lockdown, as all school peripheral doors are locked to the outside, but classes continue as usual inside the school.)
Secure Classroom - When teachers secure their classroom by locking their doors and continue classroom instruction.
Run/Hide/Fight (RHF) - When there is an active threat, Run, Hide Fight techniques allow staff to use facts available in the moment, to make informed decisions. This is a proactive strategy allowing students and staff to get away from a dangerous situation. Renton Police Department SROs have trained district staff in the Run/Hide/Fight protocol. This is an ongoing process and will involve age appropriate discussions with students. They are a critical partner in this process and need to understand the procedure.
- Have an escape route and plan in mind
- Leave your belongings behind
- Keep your hands visible
- Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view
- Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors
- Silence your cell phone and/or pager
- As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
- Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
- Act with physical aggression and throw items at the shooter
Reunification Site - Place where students are transported or assigned to meet at due to unsafe conditions at the school site.
Student Release Area - Location at the reunification site where parents may pick up students.
Evacuation - All persons exit the building.
Reverse Evacuation - Students return from outside to the safety of the school.
Here are key elements in Renton School District’s safety preparedness plans and protocols. In the event of a crisis, our schools have an emergency management plan in place and school, district, and emergency staff will respond accordingly. During any emergency, please rely on communications from your school and the district and disregard unofficial information or rumors.
Before an Emergency:
- Ensure your family emergency contact information in Family Access is accurate and current, including who is authorized to pick up your child.
- Explain to your child that cell phones should not be used during an emergency unless directed by a teacher, administrator, or emergency personnel.
- Please refrain from calling your student. Students need to pay strict attention to instructions from teachers, administrators and trained personnel.
Communication During an Emergency:
Our staff is trained to protect students and manage the situation in a building first and then communicate with the district office. Important, accurate information will be sent to families from the district as quickly as possible.
- The first and official way for us to contact you in an emergency is using our School Messenger system via email and phone and text.
- We will use additional channels to provide you accurate and timely information.
During an Emergency:
- Trust that emergency personnel and staff are doing everything to protect your child first, then we will communicate with you.
- Please listen to messages we leave on your voice mail. Our phone system is often flooded with calls from families who have not listened to the message.
- Please do not call the school. In a crisis situation, school phone lines must remain open to manage the situation.
- Please do not call or text your child. If a ringer is on, your call could give away their hiding spot or distract them from receiving instructions.
- Please do not come to the school. No one will be allowed on campus during an emergency. Emergency personnel responding to the situation need the area clear to do their job. After emergency responders determine that a safe student release is possible, arrangements will be made to reunite children with their families.
After an Emergency:
- Parents/Guardians will be directed to the reunification site. Photo identification is required for release of students.
- Students will only be released to a parent/guardian and/or other adults listed on the student’s Emergency Information Form, which you filled out at the beginning of the school year. The individual picking up a student will be asked to complete a Student Release Form (given on-site). This procedure is designed for your child’s protection and for your peace of mind.
- Please be aware that reunification can be time consuming and your patience will be appreciated.
- It is important to remain calm as children are greatly influenced by their family’s sense of well-being, and anything that families can do to reassure students will be helpful. At the same time, families need to be compassionate listeners when their children speak of the crisis. Seek help from the school, District, or community resources if you or your child have concerns.