Senate Bill 1 (School Safety & Resiliency Act) was signed into Kentucky law in March of 2019. This bill's passing provided further justification for the ongoing work and commitment to safety by the Oldham County Board of Education and our staff, students, & community members. The purpose of this newsletter is to communicate the many steps we've taken to ensure student safety through the implementation of SB1. Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, OCS Superintendent Greg Schultz has appointed Eric Davis (Director of Student Services) and Michael Williams (Director of Pupil Personnel) as the district's School Safety Coordinators.
Link to Full Senate Bill 1
WHAT'S IN SB1?
SB1 empowers school districts to partner with safety agencies in their communities. Through our partnerships with the Kentucky Center for School Safety, Department of Criminal Justice Training, Oldham County Police Dept., LaGrange Police Dept., Oldham County District Court, & the Kentucky State Security Marshal's office, the Oldham County Board of Education is dedicated to ensuring the safety of our students and staff.
Beyond compliance with SB1, OCS has addressed school safety and security through the following measures: 1) School Safety Risk Assessments & Tours, 2) School Resource Officers, 3) Emergency Management Plans, 4) Building Updates & Modifications, 5) Focus on Mental Health, 6) Trainings & Drills, 7) Funding Priority, & 8) Reporting Tool.
SCHOOL SAFETY RISK ASSESSMENTS & TOURS
Each of Oldham County's twenty school buildings has a School Safety and Security Threat Assessment Team. In addition to regular meetings, this team also facilitates a yearly risk assessment in collaboration with the Kentucky Center for School Safety and the Department of Criminal Justice Training. In the fall of 2019, each school participated in a safety walk with district leadership, local law enforcement, and a member from the local fire department. During the spring semester of 2020, each school building will participate in a school safety risk assessment with our state security investigator from the Department of Criminal Justice Training, Mr. Steve Mattingly. The purpose of a school risk assessment is to ensure compliance with the mandates of SB1 and help our schools grow in best practices for school safety.
School Resource Officers
The Oldham County Board of Education partners with the Oldham County Police Department and LaGrange Police Department to employ ten school resource officers. In addition to their police training, each SRO receives a minimum of 40 hours of training specific to school-based law enforcement, threat assessment and response, youth drug use and abuse, social media and cyber security, youth mental health, trauma-informed action, and deescalation strategies.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANS
Each school safety team works with the Site-Based Decision Making council to develop an emergency management plan with specific details on addressing a variety of emergencies from accidents and fires to threats of violence and harm. These plans, after being approved by council, are provided to district leaders, local law enforcement agencies, and first responders. Due to the specific details of each plan, they are confidential and excluded from open records laws.
Building Updates and Modifications
Senate Bill 1, in conjunction with KRS 158.162, requires schools 1) control outside access to exterior doors during the school day, 2) control the main entrance of the school with electronically locking doors, a camera, and an intercom system, 3) control access to classrooms by having classroom doors to remain closed and locked during instructional time, 4) have all visitors report to the front office of the building, provide valid identification, and state the purpose for the visit, and 5) provide a visitor's badge to be visibly displayed on a visitor's outer garment.
In addition to the mandates of SB1, the Oldham County Board of Education has taken the additional measure of modifying building structures to have vestibules at the entrance of each building. Upon the completion of the South Oldham High School renovation beginning summer 2020, each school's main entrance will force visitors to enter through the front office prior to gaining access to students.
FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH
WLKY article on Oldham County Schools Mental Health Focus
Spectrum News 1 article on Oldham County Schools Mental Health Focus
As a school district, Oldham County is determined to meet the needs of all students. Therefore, with the help of the board of education, Superintendent Schultz has set a clear path for addressing the challenges students face with mental health. Oldham County currently employs four licensed mental health professionals, one school social worker, nine school psychologists, eighteen school nurses, and thirty-seven school counselors. As described in the articles linked above, the board of education's focus for 2019-2020 is providing counselors more opportunities for face time with students.
TRAINING & DRILLS
Every Oldham County Schools employee participates in suicide prevention training & active shooter training. The threat assessment model utilized by Oldham County Schools is recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service.
Information on Threat Assessment Model
New in the 2019/2020 school year is the opportunity for staff members to receive ALICE training through Oldham County Police Sergeant T.J. Grace.
Information on ALICE Training
FUNDING SENATE BILL 1
After SB1 was signed into law in March 2019, school districts began the daunting task of determining how to pay for the mandates listed within the bill. To this point, no additional funding has been allocated by the Kentucky Legislature to help local districts pay for school resource officers, building and classroom renovations, additional school counselors, mental-health supports, or training implementation. The phrase "when funds become available" is written into the language of SB1 numerous times, placing the responsibility of funding these initiatives on local school districts and their tax base.
As of the publishing of this newsletter, Superintendent Schultz and the Oldham County Board of Education have been able to trim other areas of the district's budget in order to fund SB1 mandates. The safety and security of our students and staff is our highest priority and our local Board of Education has supported every move necessary to meet the requirements of SB1. We encourage the community to write state legislators to encourage funding on a per-pupil basis, which would help take the financial burden off individual school districts.
Our school district utilizes the Safe Schools Alert reporting tool. Linked on each school's website and advertised in every school, this reporting tool allows anonymous tips to be submitted by phone, email, or text. The tips are submitted to five district staff members and are immediately investigated through collaboration with school administrators. See something, say something!
Link to Safe Schools Alert Tipline
School safety is everyone's responsibility. Please help us ensure the safety and well-being of everyone associated with Oldham County Schools.