Warren Local School District is committed to the education of all students. Unfortunately, in today’s world there are many roadblocks to this education including those that deal with the safety of our students. Providing an environment and fostering a culture that allows our staff the ability to provide an appropriate education to our students includes a multifaceted approach to their safety.
The district is paying close attention to social emotional needs of our students. Within Washington County all teachers, principals, and selected support staff are trained in dealing with student in need.
The district has partnered with Life & Purpose Behavior Health and Hopewell Health Centers to provide on campus and alternative placement mental health and behavior support for our students. These services look very different from each other and are catered to the needs of the student. In some instances, the service is in combination and in addition to regular educational programs, and in others it is just a one-on-one session.
With the guidance of law enforcement and health professionals, our staff has started the process of receiving trauma casualty training, along with already ongoing first aid training. If there is an incident, there will likely be injuries and our staff will need to be trained and ready to provide aid in that situation.
The district has participated for many years in Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) Training. These trainings and drills are partnered with oversight and an After Action Review from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. Our staff and students also participate in other varied safety training each year. These trainings and drills focus on different scenarios and threats all of which are a part of the overall readiness of our district’s safety plan. These trainings help to prepare staff and students using different techniques and methods that have been proven to help mitigate different threat situations.
Our current facilities are outfitted with main entrance cameras and door security. Our facilities are at the forefront of safety design. From the beginning of the visioning process for the design of the buildings, safety was identified as a top priority. With the help of both design and law enforcement professionals, the building’s structures are constructed to have multiple “choke points,” automatic locking doors, cameras, and multiple other safety features.
Arming of Staff and a School Resource Officer
The district, partnering with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, will have a full time school based deputy. The deputy will remain a member of the Sheriff’s Department, however will be imbedded in the district to build rapport with both staff and students and provide an additional layer of support and safety. The deputy will also receive additional training as School Resource Officer. The arming of staff will be done on a voluntary and confidential bases, which will involve multiple layers of initial training and ongoing professional development. Staff members that wish to be armed will need to be approved by the school board designated safety committee, complete approved multistep initial tactical training, undergo and/or understand the physical and mental “fit for duty” standard to be armed, as well as participate in monthly, quarterly, and yearly training. It should be understood that these staff members are not security guards. Their purpose is not to deescalate an active shooter event; their purpose would be to eliminate an active shooter or tactically defend their students.