Leadership magazine Sept/Oct 2018 V48 No. 1 - Page 8

A comprehensive approach to school safety New programs and evolving teams can help fill the need to protect students. 8 Leadership Like many districts nationwide, Sweetwater experienced a marked increase in the number of school threats over the past 2017-18 school year. Round-the-clock coordination between school administra- tive teams, district officials and local law enforcement investigated, managed and re- sponded to a quadrupled number of school threats with minimal perceived disturbance to safe learning environments. School of- ficials and local law enforcement assessed and managed more than 70 school shooting and bomb threats without resorting to any school closures and only a small handful of lockdowns. Moreover, very few incidents caused any sustained community anxiety and less than five of the incidents became media stories. The Sweetwater Union High School District has developed a comprehensive all-hazards approach to school safety. The Security Work Group is a district-level mul- tidisciplinary committee of stakeholders formed in 2013. It includes district cabinet members from Equity, Culture and Student Services, Business Services, Facilities and Operations, Communications, alongside psychologists, educators and a variety of other support staff from both district and school sites. The group is chaired by a full- time district administrator, the Security Coordinator and Advisor who works closely with all of these departments. This evolving team has established a common vision from campus safety that balances climate and physical safety. The team’s subject matter experts have synthe- sized volumes of applicable guidance from multiple authorities to include, but not be limited to: U.S. Department of Education, DHS, FEMA, FBI, National Associa- tion of School Psychologists, and National Association of School Resource Officers. Members of the group are very active in their respective professional organiza- tions and committed members of county level education and law enforcement work groups. The security work group has several subcommittees, such as Threat Assessment By John Czajkowski, Sonia Picos and Manny Rubio