FCPS Releases Safety and Security Recommendations
The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Office of Safety and Security has issued a report that evaluates current security procedures and recommends enhancements and improvements to FCPS’ current security practices. Following the Parkland, Florida, school shooting in February, Superintendent Scott Brabrand requested an internal review of FCPS’ security programs, policies, and practices. Principals, teachers, staff, students, parents, law enforcement, Virginia state officials, and security professionals contributed to the review, with emphasis being placed on a collaboration with principals.
The review examined current security processes, opportunities for improvements to existing programs, and consideration of new initiatives to further reduce risk in the short- and long-term.
The recommendations focus on three key areas:
- Training—Hire additional staff members to improve training in all schools, such as enhanced lockdown drills and visitor management procedures, and increase the frequency of school-based security exercises. In addition, table top exercises would be conducted annually. A tabletop exercise provides participants emergency scenarios to evaluate each school’s crisis management plan and response; at least one lockdown drill each year would be conducted during a lunch period and/or between classes; and grade level appropriate training scripts and videos would be provided for lockdown drills.
- Physical Security—Require all classroom doors to be locked at all times and to replace outdated dual-keyed door locks.
- Mental Health—Hire 18 additional school-based mental health support staff members such as psychologists or social workers. All high schools currently have full-time psychologists and social workers. Additional staff would enable all middle schools and targeted elementary schools to have full-time mental health support.
The recommended enhancements were presented to the School Board at their June 18 work session and consensus was reached to present the recommendations as part of the FY18 year-end budget review scheduled for July 26, 2018.
Interior cameras for middle schools and elementary schools were also recommended, but the School Board indicated that they wanted to further review the issue. All high schools have interior cameras.
Metal detectors were considered but not recommended at this time, and placing a School Resource Officer (SRO) or providing other security staffing in each elementary school would require further discussion and collaboration with Fairfax County.
The security recommendations will be presented as new business at the July 12 School Board meeting, and are scheduled to be voted upon for approval at the July 26 School Board Meeting. The School Board will hear comments from the community at a public hearing on July 12 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Jackson Middle School Auditorium. If additional speaking slots are necessary beyond this allotted time, an additional hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on July 17 in the Jackson Middle School Auditorium. Online sign up for the public hearing will begin at 6 a.m. on June 25.
For more information, contact the Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.