The safety, security, and well-being of our students, staff, and visitors has been, and will continue to be, a priority for our school division. Prior to the tragic events last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there were many safety processes and protocols that had already been in place. Following this event, we planned for and implemented many more practices to increase the safety and security of our facilities and school division operations. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on the status of our ongoing safety initiatives.
In mid-January, Deputy Scott Leabough began his full time assignment as School Resource Officer at Goochland Middle School. Deputy Leabough was selected through a collaborative interview process with the school administration and the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office. He has a tremendous amount of experience that will contribute to the overall safety, security, and climate at Goochland Middle School.
We continue to strive toward meeting the many socio-emotional needs of our students. My proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year includes a request to increase school counseling staffing at Goochland High School through the summer months as well request for a full time License Mental Health Counselor to serve as a resource for teachers and administrators and to provide direct services to students at our secondary complex.
Infrastructure and Capital Improvements
There have been many changes to access to our division’s facilities that are easily noticed by our visitors and guests. Exterior access controls and door position sensors have been installed at strategic locations on all of our division’s facilities. In addition to these measures, ALL exterior locks are currently in the process of being re-keyed. These devices will allow our school division to restrict and control access, while also having documentation regarding the dates, times, and locations when facilities are accessed. Bids have been secured for the installation of cameras at our elementary schools, with installation to begin in the Spring. An additional layer of security has been added with the installation of transaction windows at both Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School. These transaction windows allow our staff and families to more efficiently handle routine transactions at our schools-dropping off items for students, sign in and sign out-while reducing traffic in our office areas and thereby minimizing risk associated with individuals moving past the secure lobby areas of the middle and high schools.
Crisis Planning and Training
Our proactive approaches to improve and increase safety and security continues through the work of our School Safety Task Force as well as our ongoing collaboration with Goochland County Fire-Rescue and Emergency Services and the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office. As a result of this collaboration, staff have been trained in bleed management techniques. In the next month, bleed management kits will be installed in strategic locations (like our AEDs) for use in a crisis situation. We continue to conduct drills with students and staff on all of our safety processes as all division-wide crisis plans have been reviewed and revised. Future training and collaboration will focus on scenario exercises and drills that will be conducted with our different partner agencies.
Our School Safety Task Force, comprised of staff, students, and partner organizations, meets bi-monthly to discuss areas of concern, provide action items to school leadership, and gather feedback toward enhanced safety.
Safe Schools Anonymous Reporting
Please remember that we have a division-wide anonymous reporting system. This system allows you to report any threats or concerns related to bullying anonymously via text message, website, e-mail, or phone call. Links can be found on any school website and also here.
Threat Assessment Training for Parents
This past Fall, all of our students and staff at Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School received training and awareness of our division’s threat assessment process. Parents can also access this training at www.schoolthreatassessment.com Enter the parent code to begin: pncwub
Throughout the Fall, we have been working in collaboration with the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office and Goochland County Administration to develop an ordinance (pp. 140-141) that will allow our school division to issue a summons for a $250 fine to a motorist who does not obey the flashing lights on our buses when stopped. We are able to complete this process now that exterior and dash cameras have been installed on the routes where this happens the most. The Goochland County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on this Ordinance tomorrow (February 5) at 7:00 p.m.
Although we initiated and completed many safety initiatives in the past 12 months, we do not want to become complacent. Your feedback, recommendations, and thoughts on areas of improvement or concern are always welcome. Please feel free to contact me via phone, e-mail, or in person when you see me at many of our division’s events. Thank you, as always, for everything that you do to support the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools!