• School Safety

  • February 2023

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 2/1/2023
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  • District Clear Bag Guidelines

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 2/1/2023

    Bag GuidelinesThe District has implemented a clear bag/no bag guideline this year at all high school sporting events that occur inside our schools and in our stadiums. This guideline was rolled out to all middle schools for sporting events in gyms after winter break. 

    This guideline has been communicated numerous times through various messaging platforms, as well as through the schools themselves in direct communications to parents. This guideline allows us to better protect all persons who enter our schools for sporting events.

    Students who remain on campus prior to the event and then go directly to the event can bring their non-clear school bags into the events after the bags are searched. Students must wear their school identification badge the entire time they have the bag with them at the event. If they remove their identification badge, they will be warned once, then asked to leave if they fail to comply. School administration has the discretion to make specific exceptions to the guideline, based on individual circumstances.

    Please remember that all of our safety guidelines are for the safety of all persons who visit, play and learn within our facilities. Feel free to reach out to us through the Safety and Security tab in Let’s Talk with any questions.

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • January 2023

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 1/5/2023 12:01:00 PM
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  • Ready for the New Semester!

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 1/5/2023 12:00:00 PM

    2023 is here, and SUSD’s Security team is ready for the new semester. We are working closely with site administration and our first responder partners to ensure that the safety of every person on every campus continues to be a priority.

    A few reminders for everyone when it comes to all athletic events at our high schools and middle schools:

    • Only clear bags are permitted at indoor and stadium sporting events.
    • Every person on every campus should be wearing an ID or visitor badge.  Please make sure your children wear their ID every day.

    The Security team is available to assist with any issues that may arise. Please feel free to reach out to the Security officer on your campus or to us at the district level through Let’s Talk with any needs or questions. Find us under District Departments – Safety and Security.

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • December 2022

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 12/1/2022
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  • School Safety

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 12/1/2022

    As we approach the halfway point of the school year, SUSD’s Safety and Security team would like to say thank you and update you on the current state of affairs and the strides we have made.  Our team is comprised of district employees who are charged with supporting site and district administration with the safety and security of all 29 campuses, 14 facilities, 2,600 staff and 22,000 students.

    To accomplish this task, SUSD employees 38 people in the Safety and Security division.  Three are shared with other departments but function within the safety and security realm.  There are three administrators and the remaining 32 are front-line security officers. They are there to assist staff and students with issues on campus and to maintain order and safety across the district.

    The past year has seen the district focus more intently on the security of our campuses and all who enter them.  We have added security cameras at schools and card readers to doors, and have made school lobby areas secure from the rest of the campus.  We require all students from 2nd through 12th grade, as well as all staff and guests to our campuses, to wear a visible identification card.  Some schools have gone above and beyond to encourage all students, even in grades below 2nd, to wear IDs.

    We have requested that all doors and gates on campuses be locked.  This practice resulted in our being able to identify doors and locks not used in the past couple of years that needed repairs.  An unintended positive of this policy has been that students are lingering less in the hallway and getting to class on time.  We also understand that as the weather is changing, many of our classroom doors are being left open for brief periods of time or are open to outdoor collaboration spaces.  While this is okay for short periods of time, we have to remember that learning and education is our first priority.  If all of our other security measures are in place, the classroom door is the last line of defense. Everything else that is being done on campus works together to create the safe space, not just a classroom door.

    We have instituted a no-bag/clear bag policy at all of our indoor and stadium-based high school sporting events.  This practice will continue next semester and we will be expanding it to the middle schools.  This policy is consistent with most professional and college sporting event venues, as well as in our neighboring school districts.

    In October, we sponsored a large and successful active-shooter drill that involved more than 200 participants. The exercise highlighted relationships we have built with our first-responder partners and local hospitals.  The drill also allowed us to find ways to enhance our response, while proving that we are prepared, should there be an incident on our campuses.

    This year, the district has seen a higher-than-normal number of students getting into trouble.  Some of these infractions are minor; others are more serious.  In conferring with other school districts around the Valley and state, we have discovered that all of us are experiencing the same thing.

    As we enter the holiday season, please remember that our students and staff have all been working hard.  Your SUSD Security team encourages you to take a deep breath and practice patience.  We want to finish this semester strong, with high academic achievement and positive experiences on all of our campuses.  Remember that attendance at school is critical, sleep before tests is a must, and taking time to talk through differences will make these last few weeks of 2022 a success for everyone.

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • November 2022

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/1/2022
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  • SUSD’S Clear Bag Policy

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/1/2022

    In our efforts to have district safety practices reflect today’s world, SUSD policies continue to evolve.  One of the changes we have implemented this school year is a clear bag policy for major school gatherings.

    The rollout of this policy has been incremental, to date.  We began with enforcing it at both indoor and outdoor high school sporting events. We created a guideline based on what other organizations, such as our state universities and other local school districts, use.  We communicated this message throughout our schools and learning communities earlier this school year.  We also placed a message on the ticket-purchase website so that no one would be unaware of the policy when arriving for a sporting event at one of our high schools.

    As we implemented this program, we realized that we had to make an exception.  This exception is for those students who are on campus all day with their bags, go to an after-school club, tutoring or sport, followed by attending a game.  As a result, we now allow a student to bring a bag into these locations after it is searched.  Student ID badges must be visible while in possession of their bag.  Should they remove their identification, they first receive a warning, followed by their removal from the facility if they remain out of compliance.

    After winter break, this program will be rolled out to our middle schools, but it will be in effect on November 19 for the middle school sports festival's boys basketball games, which take place in high school gyms.  We understand that there may be some growing pains with its implementation and we will work through any challenges.  Beginning in January, if you come to a middle school sport, please remember to either leave your bag at home or bring one that is clear.

    No matter where you look, most venues today require people to use clear bags, be searched, and/or pass through a metal detector before gaining entry. Unfortunately, there are those out there who, no matter what, are determined to bring items to events to harm themselves or others around them.  SUSD’s clear bag policy is not going to solve the world’s problems, but it is a step towards mitigating potential threats on our campuses.  Our students’ and schools’ community events should be celebrations of their hard work.  Thank you for understanding and respecting SUSD’s clear bag policy.


    Josh Friedman
    Director of Safety and Security

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

     

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  • October 2022

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 10/3/2022
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  • Training Exercise at Cocopah Middle School

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 10/3/2022

    Training exercise at Cocopah This past Saturday, more than 200 people from many local police agencies, fire departments, local hospitals, as well as SUSD staff, students and parents, gave up their day to participate in an active-shooter drill at Cocopah Middle School. The scenario included three “shooters” and multiple scenarios that were designed to test various aspects of our readiness to handle such an emergency event. While opportunities to improve were identified by all participants, we are so grateful for the partnership that exists between our district and Valley first responder agencies. Among the major findings: Scottsdale Police access to real-time information provided by SUSD security cameras can save critical time and, potentially, lives.

    Why would we do this, you might ask. It’s a waste of time and resources, you might say. This is about every person involved learning something, first-hand. The seven police agencies that were there learned how they can better work together. The two fire departments present learned how to coordinate care and, with their law enforcement counterparts, how to get to victims of a scene like this faster than they used to. The hospital learned how to deal with an influx of patients, both from the ambulance transports that arrived, as well as numerous people who drove themselves to the hospital. The command staff from the police departments, fire departments and hospital all had to work in concert with one another as they managed the ever-evolving scene.

    How does the school district fit into this learning environment?  The Cocopah administration learned how fast its day can change and how little time it may have to react.  The teachers, parents and students who were learning in classrooms experienced a lockdown and heard the sound of “gunshots” in the halls and on campus.  Our school counselors experienced the event to be able to help people in the future, should they ever deal with this type of trauma. District administrators were able to test the communications systems we use to notify parents, students, staff, and family members. Plans to reallocate district resources to assist at various other school sites were exercised, and communication and coordination between public safety and district and site-based staff and administration were tested.

    Desert Canyon Middle School music teacher Molly May said she signed up to participate in the drill to better understand how she might react in this type of situation.  Not only did she learn a lot about that, she said, but she also learned how real students in her real class might react. She plans to work with other teachers who took part in the drill to take important lessons back for the entire Desert Canyon Elementary and Middle School staffs.

    The entire training exercise was evaluated by both internal and external experts in various fields.  There will be many lessons learned and further discussions will be undertaken to ensure we can do things better. The Scottsdale Unified School District mission ‒ “We inspire, motivate, and empower all to think critically, act collaboratively, and embrace diversity for a life of intellectual exploration, community engagement, and personal growth” ‒ was a focus of this exercise. Every person who volunteered for this exercise experienced some personal growth.

    As SUSD’s new Director of Safety and Security, this exercise was an important step for me to evaluate our current state of readiness as a school district.  While there is always room for improvement, I am confident in saying that should this devastating situation ever happen in real life, the district is prepared to respond.  We will all take the lessons learned and continue to improve our plans and responses.  In the current state of the world, we need to be ready. This is just one more step to ensure that SUSD and our partners are prepared.

    A huge thank you goes to the hundreds of people who were involved in the planning and implementation of this exercise. We will be better prepared, thanks to your investment of time in this effort.

    Josh Friedman
    Director
    SUSD Safety and Security

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

     

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