Lancaster City Schools Commitment to School Safety
Recent school shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school and other schools serve as a somber reminder that the safety of our students and staff are of paramount importance. The staff and administration of Lancaster City Schools work diligently to insure the safest learning environment that we can reasonably provide to our students. Our staffs are well trained in the most up to date emergency response methods in conjunction with the Lancaster Police Department, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department, the Lancaster Fire Department, and the Fairfield Co. Office of Emergency Management.
All of our building administrators have been trained in the Readiness and Emergency Management System as well as the National Incident Management System since 2007. In addition, Lancaster High School has a full time deputy sheriff on duty. Our buildings have safety teams in place with specific responsibilities which are rehearsed through table top drills where emergency scenarios are reviewed. These drills lead to building security improvements in our school buildings. Emergency drills are routinely practiced so staff and students know how to respond and keep everyone as safe as possible in the event of a crisis. In September, we hosted a workshop for our building administrators and members of our local safety forces to work with national safety consultants in order to improve our emergency response procedures.
Since December, all of our building administrators have taken an on line training course from Homeland Security for an active shooter in the building. We have also sent a team of administrators to the Ohio Peace Officers Training Association active shooter workshop at the Fairfield County Education Service Center. Our building administrators have also implemented tighter restrictions on adults entering schools, including the start and end of the school day.
In January we met with Lancaster Chief of Police Dave Bailey and Sergeant Mike Peters to exchange ideas to increase school security. As a result of these meetings, we will contract with Lancaster City Police Officers to cover our junior high and elementary schools on a rotating basis. We also coordinated the active shooter emergency response training scenario at Thomas Ewing with volunteer staff members, students, and Lancaster City Police Officers.
Our national safety consultants will return in March to conduct threat assessments in our buildings and continue to work with us on our emergency procedures. For next school year, we are planning to make modifications to the entrance ways of our buildings to prevent visitors from entering without being seen. We also hope to hold more training scenarios in other school buildings with the Lancaster Police Department.
In order to make these improvements in building safety, we have had to reallocate funds that were budgeted for other purposes. We believe that this is an investment in the safety of our students and staff is worth the money spent. The Lancaster City School District is committed to providing a safe environment for our students and staff both now and in the future.