Your student's safety is our #1 priority!
Following the most recent school shooting as well as lockdowns at multiple PUSD schools, we know that many have wondered about the safety protocols at our own school campuses. We wanted to review the measures that have been put into place over the past 4 years.
Securing Campus Exteriors
In 2018-19 Guidepost and PUSD conducted a thorough safety analysis of each school and office building to identify any vulnerabilities. Based on this report, PUSD:
- Reinforced fencing and gates (this work is ongoing)
- Limited access points onto campus (this work is ongoing)
- Restricted traffic flow and drop-off and pick-up protocols
- Installed security cameras
- Implemented a visitor management system
- Hired additional Campus Security personnel at secondary schools (middle and high school level)
- Updated our emergency notification system to enable a text feature that parents and staff can opt into
- Installed Rapid Access Systems at each of our schools allowing first responders immediate access into secure buildings
- Conducts annual vulnerability walks with County school safety specialists to identify areas of improvement
Partnerships with Law Enforcement & County Office of Education
- School resource officers from SDPD and Poway Sheriff's Department patrol our neighborhoods and schools on a daily basis, with extra patrol following any suspicious activity
- Law enforcement monitor the anonymous 24-hour PUSD tipline: 1-844-PUSD-TIP
- Law enforcement and County school safety specialists also provide our staff with active shooter and threat assessment training and serve on our threat assessment teams
Community Vigilance/Reporting/Parents as Partners
- The See Something, Say Something program at every secondary school helps teach students to look for warning signs of students about to hurt themselves or others
- The PUSD Tipline (1-844-PUSD-TIP) is printed on the back of every secondary student’s ID card and QR codes are placed on flyers and visible throughout secondary campuses so students can easily report suspicious behavior
- Our Content Keeper web monitoring tool flags keyword searches that might indicate harm to self or others
- We offer parent education workshops such as What I Wish My Parents Knew throughout the year
- Every school has a Site Safety Committee and PUSD also has a District School Safety Committee which meets twice a year
Social/Emotional/Mental Health Supports
- PUSD hired additional counselors at every school
- PUSD hired social workers to help support students at every high school and at the two largest middle schools; NOTE: as of August 2022, every middle and high school will have one full time social worker
- We increased the hours for our student support specialists and assistants at every school to lead more lessons focused on supporting a positive school culture: equity and inclusion, anti-bullying, Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate, Sandy Hook Promise’s Start with Hello, etc.
- In collaboration with the County Office of Education, PUSD re-trained school site threat assessment teams (a minimum of 14 hours of instruction) at every school in the District this last fall. Participants included administrators, school counselors and psychologists, and Student Services Specialists; PUSD also re-trained crisis response teams
- Peer counselors were also trained and equipped to help other students struggling with social and/or emotional challenges
- We piloted PASS Universal Attitudinal Screener, assessing every sixth and ninth grade student’s mental health in the District
Training and Preparation
Every school site has a comprehensive School Site Safety Plan, which is reviewed and updated annually. Additionally, our students and staff practice a variety of drills (fire, earthquake, secure campus, shelter in place, lockdown, etc) multiple times a year. We realize it can be frightening when a lockdown is actually happening for those experiencing it, but as recent events show, the regular practicing of lockdown procedures allows students and staff to know how to respond in an emergency. The events surrounding a lockdown roughly follow this timeline:
- Law enforcement notifies us of the need to go into lockdown. This means students and staff stop what they are doing, close all window coverings and doors, turn off the lights, get low to the floor and remain out of sight, barricading the door if necessary. Students should not be on their mobile devices or social media during lockdown. Each classroom is equipped with a lockdown kit, which includes a first aid kit, flashlights, exit route maps, and a bucket and seat if students need to use the restroom during extended lockdowns (*Note - This is different from “secure campus” mode, during which teaching and learning continues inside classrooms behind locked doors and no one is allowed on or off campus)
- Staff will receive notification of the lockdown via intercom, text, and email
- Parents will receive notification of the lockdown via text/email
- Parents should not come to the school site as this can distract or hinder law enforcement from their emergency response
- Law enforcement notifies the school when the lockdown is lifted
- Staff and Parents will receive a notification when the lockdown is lifted and any pickup instructions
In addition to practicing lockdown drills, staff have been trained in the Run, Hide, Fight protocols created by the US Department of Homeland Security.
In early September, we will host another School Safety Summit to identify areas of improvement and to go further in depth to review the above safety measures we have taken to ensure your child is safe. Just like the School Safety Summits hosted earlier this school year, we will be joined by an expert group of panelists including local law enforcement and mental health professionals. We will share the date and time with you when this is scheduled. Until then, please know that school safety does not take a day off. It is on our minds 365 days a year, and we will continue to do our very best to ensure our schools remain the safest place for our students and staff.
Recent Union Tribune Articles related to Poway Unified School Safety
Poway Unified considering campus security specialists at elementary level after latest shooting
While schools brace themselves for the worst, students beg for an end to gun violence
Anonymous threat leads to lockdowns in San Diego schools, offers glimpse into campus response
Two Poway Unified Counselors Named 2021 San Diego County School Counselors of the Year
The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) is proud to announce that Nicole Pablo, Twin Peaks Middle School, and Fran Hjalmarson, Los Peñasquitos Elementary School, have been named the 2021 San Diego County School Counselors of the Year by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE).
Interview with CBS8 | PUSD Press Release | Times of San Diego Article
PUSD Safety Summit Resources
|Session 1 - September 21, 2021
|Presentation Slide Deck
|Outpatient Substance Use Treatment
||PUSD has a comprehensive substance abuse program housed at RBHS and supported by North Inland Teen Recovery Center. They have had amazing success working with our 12 through 18 year old students struggling with substance abuse. Students can be referred through the school’s administration team by Student Self-Referral, Parent Referral, School Referral and/or Attendance and Discipline Referral
||Partnership with the County of San Diego and Local School Districts to provide County-funded beahvioral health services to students
|Session 2 - January 20, 2022
|Presentation Recording | Presentation Slide Deck
Article by Pomerado News: Poway Unified officials report rise in depression and anxiety in students due to pandemic
|San Diego County Office of Education Mental Health Resources
||The SDCOE Student Wellness and School Culture unit has compiled mental health resources for educators, students, and families. The document is organized into three sections: support lines; mental health websites; and mental health handouts and brochures. It includes links to resources in both English and Spanish.
|San Diego County Office of Education Virtual Wellness Center
||This virtual Wellness Center is brought to you by the Student Wellness and School Culture department to support the well-being of staff, students, and parents as well as connect them to calming activities and tools to promote health and wellness. This is a safe space to access support, take a break, rest, and refocus.
|Child Mind Institute
||Find information to help you support children who are struggling with mental health, behavior or learning challenges.
|National Alliance of Mental Illness
||NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.
|40 Developmental Assets by The Search Institute
||Search Institute has identified 40 positive supports and strengths that young people need to succeed. Half of the assets focus on the relationships and opportunities they need in their families, schools, and communities (external assets). The remaining assets focus on the social-emotional strengths, values, and commitments that are nurtured within young people (internal assets).
|24/7 Mental Health Supports from Mending Matters
PDF linked here
|Emotional Wellness Plan
||English Version - PDF linked here
Spanish Version - PDF linked here
|Effective School Solutions
||The U.S Surgeon General's Youth Mental Health Advisory: What Does it Mean for School Districts?