Message to the Community from the Superintendent Regarding School Safety
The Oxnard Union High School District students, staff, and our community are truly stunned by the Newtown, CT shooting and the unacceptable violence against helpless elementary students and teachers. In light of the current national conversation about violence and school safety, our Principals and staff have reviewed the school safety plans and submitted suggestions to our District Safety Committee. District staff is working in collaboration with the Oxnard Police Department and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department to review and examine our lock-down procedures and, specifically, to address active shooters.
The School Safety Committee met on Tuesday, December 18th at their regularly scheduled meeting to review staff input and all schools brought forward recommendations to the committee. The School Safety Committee reinforced our current practices and made additional recommendations listed below that will require staff to change our District practice for how schools operate to safeguard students. Additional recommendations will be forthcoming after further consultation with City and County Law Enforcement Agencies on January 7, 2013.
The District will reinforce the following top priorities and practices upon school resuming on Monday, January 7, 2013:
- Continue to review and update the school safety plan with District Office support using a consistent and common template submitted for School Board approval on January 23, 2013.
- Conduct a lock-down drill in coordination with police and sheriff based on a uniform, district-wide standard prior to the end of January. Staff will review and be trained with the updated procedures including posted signs in the classrooms.
- The front administration entry shall be the only access point for visitors during the school day.
- ID Badges must be worn at all time by staff. All visitors (including volunteers, parents, former employees, and former students) must sign-in at the front administration entry and wear a visitor’s badge.
- All teachers and staff must pre-lock their doors in case of a lock-down which permits doors to close and lock quickly.
- There shall only be two or three entry/exit points on campus at the beginning and end of each school day manned by a Campus Supervisor and/or Administrator.
- All exterior gates shall be closed and locked within 10 minutes after school begins and opened only when the school day ends.
- All campuses are closed during the school day, including the lunch hour. All students must check-in, if arriving late and check-out, if leaving early. All students must be accounted for every minute once they arrive on campus.
- Lunch deliveries for students, if necessary, must be made at the front administration entry only – no exceptions.
- Administration must perform daily random metal detection (wanding), per existing Board Policy.
- Each site must account and inventory for all keys issued to staff.
- Administrators will meet with staff that use two-way radios and discuss with them the 10-code protocol. District will conduct monthly two-way radio checks with sites to ensure that all radios are operational and effective communication is in place.
- Each site will promote their school Twitter Account as a means of proactive instant communication with students, staff, and parents.
- District continues to contract with Oxnard PD and Sheriff’s to have an armed officer at each school site.
Please join me in thanking our dedicated District personnel who are committed to doing everything they can to provide a safe and supportive school environment by reinforcing these priorities to protect students and staff.
Gabe Soumakian, Ed.D.