What we do to keep your children safe

  • Our approach to safety reaches into every aspect of student life. From the first minute students wait for the bus in the morning, to the last minute they step off the bus in the evening, we have their safety as our top concern.

    The five basic pillars of our safety program are:

    1. Prevention
    2. Training and drills
    3. Creating alternatives to violence
    4. Monitoring 
    5. Intervention

    1. Prevention
    The place to stop violence in schools is long before it starts. Saint Paul Public Schools offers a variety of hands-on training to students to help them become safer in school. From learning communication and mediation skills, to learning how to appropriately channel anger, students learn appropriate outlets for emotions and how to control their behavior to perform responsively in a healthy school environment. A handbook of expectations, called
    Student Behavior Handbook: Rights and Responsibilitiesis presented to each student and family, so everyone is clear on the rules from the first day of school.

    What parents can do to help

     

    2. Training
    Students participate in a variety of emergency drills from how to evacuate school buses safely, to fire drills, to lockdown and intruder drills. Drills are repeated throughout the school year under varied conditions and are monitored by building administrators for effectiveness. When an emergency happens, students and staff know ahead of time what to do, and have experience doing it.

    What parents can do to help

    • Talk to your children when they report having a drill during their school day - help build their confidence by talking in positive, age appropriate language.
    • Discuss drills during conferences with building staff to make sure they know their role in an emergency.
    • Make sure your contact information is up to date, in case there is an emergency and staff need to contact you.

     

    3. Alternatives to Violence
    The best way to keep kids out of harm’s way is to create positive alternatives to lifestyles and behavior that lead them away violence. From Steps to Respect, anti-gang programs offer a host of after-school activities, clubs and extra-curricular activities; Saint Paul Public Schools makes it easy for kids to find something positive and affirming to be involved with.

    What parents can do to help

    • Talk to your children about ways to resolve disputes in a nonviolent manner.
    • Make sure that school administrators are aware of issues in the neighborhood or at school that may be a breeding ground for violence (bullying, truancy, loitering, etc.).

     

    4. Monitoring
    We use a variety of mechanisms to control intruders, which may include trained greeters, school resource officers, or other assigned staff at entrances to schools, ensuring that all visitors are screened and registered. High schools have metal detectors available. Uniformed police officers at the High School level are called School Resource Officers; they develop positive relationships with students and create a calming and secure presence. Security cameras and walkie-talkie radio systems ensure that building administrators and staff are available to each other continuously and have control over the school. An established threat assessment process called a Threat Management by Assessment and Counseling ensures that counselors, teachers and administrators are aware of potential warning signs of violence in students, and intervene in a timely, consistent and fair manner in each situation.

    What parents can do to help

    • Know your children's friends and who they are spending time with.
    • Monitor their activities and space to make sure they are not accessing materials that are harmful (this includes the internet).

     

    5. Intervention
    When a threatening situation occurs, established rules and processes outline action steps for building staff. A range of consequences from counseling, to in-school suspension, to expulsion and police involvement result from unwanted or threatening behavior. A zero-tolerance policy for gang-related activity is enforced at every school.

    What parents can do to help

    • Work with school staff to stay on top of negative behaviors and address behavioral issues in their infancy rather than when your child has gone significantly off course.