District Safety & Security
The District Safety & Security Council (DSSC) was created to coordinate district efforts to ensure a safe environment to learn and work. The DSSC is chaired by the PCS Administrator of School Safety and consists of representatives from the Superintendent's and Area Superintendent's offices, Human Resources, the School Board, Emergency Management, Schools Police, School Health Services, and Technology Information Systems.
What is new in school safety:
This school year Pinellas County Schools will be conducting active threat safety drills. These trainings are required by state law. The primary purposes of an active threat safety drills are to provide law enforcement and school leadership and staff the opportunity to practice skills and protocols and to identify and correct areas of weakness in knowledge, communication, coordination, and decision-making. The goal is to empower participants and save lives, and prepare professionals and staff for their roles and responsibilities.
In Pinellas, high school students will watch a short video and have a discussion with their teacher about the Department of Homeland Security’s recommended way to prepare for an active threat called “Run-Hide-Fight.” The video was created in partnership with law enforcement and the staff and students of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) at Gibbs High School.
Each month, students will talk through the concepts with their teacher and other caring adults on campus and will participate in a campus-wide, age appropriate drill to practice. The trainings have been developed in coordination with law enforcement and school psychologists. (Click on the "School Safety Parent Toolkit" tab for more details)
- Teachers will be aware of how to support and assist students of all developmental age levels and those with exceptionalities.
- We will not be discussing the Fight (Resist) option with elementary students, but staff members have been trained to assess any situation and decide the safest course of action.
- With secondary students we emphasize the Run (Evade) or Hide (Lockdown) options as the primary options if an assailant were on campus and the Fight (Resist) option should only be used as a last resort if they cannot Run (Evade) or Hide (Lockdown).
It’s important to know that the district is presenting the Department of Homeland Security’s recommendations as options, while following the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) to keep the content and expectations of our drills school and age appropriate.
Please view the video below to get an overview of the changes that you can expect in Pinellas County Schools for the school year.
Some of the changes mentioned by Chief Williams in the video were:
Learn more about this partnership:
Students will participate in monthly age-appropriate active threat safety drills.
Each school will have a School Resource Officer or an armed School Security Officer on site.
All district staff will be trained annually on Run-Hide-Fight protocols by law enforcement.
All classroom doors must remain locked and latched when students are present and class is in session.
All exterior gates must remain locked during school hours (the exception being the main visitor parking area).
Parents will be allowed to walk students to classrooms the first week of school, Aug. 13-15, only. Beginning on Aug. 16, parents must drop off their children at the front gate, front office or car circle.
All visitors must be cleared to enter the secure area of the school through the district's Badge Pass system and be escorted by a member of staff while on campus (the exception being volunteers with level 2 state clearance).
Pinellas County Schools will add additional counselors, social workers and psychologists.
The district is beginning a partnership with Sandy Hook Promise. Their mission is to promote research-based programs and practices to help protect children from gun violence in homes, schools and communities. This will also be accompanied by the Say Something App which is an anonymous reporting system that allows you to submit secure & anonymous safety concerns to help identify and intervene upon at-risk individuals BEFORE they hurt themselves or others.