Safety and Security Measures

Safety and Security Measures

Because of our commitment to safety and security preparedness, the Cumberland Valley School District has the following structures in place.

All-Hazards Plan – Our All-Hazards Plan is the framework for a unified response to an emergency on school property. Developed and annually reviewed with community first responders, this plan empowers District administrators to act quickly and efficiently in the event of an emergency.

Board Security Committee – This committee is comprised of three board members and various members of District Administration. The committee is briefed on safety and security updates thorough out the school year and provides oversight on continued program development.

Director of Student and Public Safety – Working in coordination with our Superintendent, Director of Business and Operations and other school leaders, including our building principals, the Director of Student and Public Safety coordinates and spearheads efforts focused on promoting the safety of our schools.

Emergency Management Coordination – We are grateful to maintain close working relationships with municipal and state first responders and emergency management professionals who help to guide planning our response to the emergencies that could occur on our campuses.

School Resource Officer (SRO) – The Cumberland Valley School District has partnered with the Hampden Township Police Department to create a School Resource Officer Program for our Hampden Township schools. Officer Josh Pressel, a duly certified and sworn law enforcement officer with the Hampden Township Police Department is currently on assignment proudly serving our schools.

School Police Officer (SPO) - In 2021 the Cumberland Valley School District Board of Directors approved the development of School Police Department. Currently, CVPD employs two duly certified and sworn law enforcement officers with jurisdiction in our Silver Spring Township, Middlesex Township and Monroe Township school buildings. The agency and it's officers regularly coordinate with law enforcement from each jurisdiction in a cooperative manner to continue to enhance safety in our schools. The agency is assigned a Community Prosecutor through the Cumberland County District Attorneys Office.

Threat Assessment Protocol - Pursuant to Act 18 of 2019 each of the district's 12 schools have established a Threat Assessment Team comprised of school administrators and mental health professionals. These teams are designed to assess and intervene with students whose behavior may indicate a threat to the safety of the student, other students, school employees, school facilities and the community. These teams coordinate with law enforcement and outside services when necessary to ensure a safe outcome for all stakeholders. Team members and district administrators were trained in the utilization of Comprehensive Threat Assessment Guidelines derived from the University of Virginia's Youth Violence Project.

General Practices & Procedures

Building Visitor Procedures – We require visitors to present photo identification upon arrival at any of our school buildings. Using School Gate Guardian software, our buildings log visitors and retrieve data from multiple databases to help our employees make informed decisions about who to admit to our schools.

Surveillance Camera Systems – Cameras are positioned in our buildings and on school buses and are evaluated regularly and upgraded over time.

Professional Development – We provide teaching and learning opportunities for staff related to things such as A.L.I.C.E. Response Procedures (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) and steps to be taken in more general critical incident scenarios like severe weather events.

Learning Experiences for Students – Various drills such as fire drills, severe weather drills, and intruder or evacuation drills are examples of measures taken by our schools to prepare students for an emergency. We recognize developmental differences among our K-12 students and attempt to tailor these trainings and drills appropriately in an effort to prepare students without frightening them.

Open Invitation - We want students to grow up seeing police officers as resources, not as individuals to fear. Therefore, we extend an open invitation to our police partners to visit and walk our buildings and interact with students and staff. We believe this to be critical to the promotion of healthy relationships between the school and law enforcement communities.

Standard Response Protocol – In 2020 Cumberland Valley School District instituted a standardized emergency protocol across the District. Standard Response Protocol by the I Love U Guys Foundation, provides standardized language and response protocols for various non-violent emergencies.

Administrative Searches - As one facet of providing a safe and secure learning environment for our students, we take proactive measures to prevent illegal materials from being present in our schools. All hallway and gym lockers are the property of the school and are loaned to our students. Thus, school officials may search student lockers if the building administrator has a reasonable belief that a student's locker contains an article which is in violation of federal, state or local law, school policies or regulations. Per our school board policy, these searches may include the use of canine units. Any illegal materials found as a result of a search may be used as evidence against the student in disciplinary, juvenile or criminal proceedings.

Additionally, cars located in permitted parking lots are subject to search without additional prior notice. These searches may also include the use of canine units. The search of a student's person and personal property will be permitted when there is a reasonable belief that the student has on his or her person items in violation of federal, state, or local laws. If a search requires a pat-down, the search shall be conducted by a designated school official of the same sex in the presence of another school staff member. The designated school official may use additional security devices to aide in the search. Our desire is that students continue to be part of the solution in helping to make our schools safe places to learn by reporting any illegal materials to an adult.

Reporting Concerns

Often, the most important piece of safety and security is obtaining key information before someone makes the decision to commit a harmful act. Receiving tips and information in advance of anything happening allows us to investigate and take proactive steps to prevent harm from occurring. If something does not look, sound, or feel right, we encourage anyone to report the concern.

There are numerous ways for students and parents/guardians to report concerns, including:

  • Tell an adult (teacher, staff member, administrator)
  • Contact our Public Safety Department (717)506-3349
  • Submit an anonymous tip using Pennsylvania's Safe2Say Something website or mobile app.

If something happens outside of the school day, contact the local police department for an immediate response.

When fielding concerns, school administrators start with an investigation. During investigations, administrators are looking for specific details - time, location, and individuals involved. The more specific, the better. Timely reporting is also key to investigations.

School actions or discipline are based upon board policy, the Student Code of Conduct, and federal/state regulations by which school must abide.

How We Communicate During Emergencies

We work very intentionally to develop and send messages that keep our many stakeholders informed. We focus on providing clear and accurate information before releasing it to the public. While we understand that people may want immediate details, our goal is to provide information as timely as possible, ensuring that what we release is accurate. We also coordinate with our local police departments to ensure that the information shared is clear and consistent.

We make use of multiple communications channels, understanding that no one method of communicating works best for all. To learn more about how you can stay connected to important updates, visit our Public Relations and Communications webpage.

Talking to Children about Violence

We encourage parents/guardians to conduct mental and emotional check-ins with their children. It is important to allow children to learn and process information in an age-appropriate manner, while also preventing any media messages from feeding fears.

For more specific resources on how parents/guardians can talk to students about violence, in addition to trauma and crisis resources, visit our School Counseling webpage.

 

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