Safety Review Findings
Following a serious safety incident in September at South Education Center, District 287 immediately began conducting a review of safety protocols. Our analysis included a qualitative review of current safety plans and practices, including Incident Command Structures and plans, welcome screening procedures, CrisisGo technology, and a review of the expectations and resources guide. We also conducted a building-level review with our safety manager and student safety coaches at each site, assessed leadership and staff knowledge of Incident Command, and engaged staff in informal conversations about safety. We assessed student and staff feeling of safety through multiple avenues, including the District-wide Trauma Leadership Team, principals, site mental heath teams, and instructional coaches.
The safety review resulted in four key findings:
- Our current Incident Command structure and training with the PREPaRE model is appropriate.
- Our staff need more training on safety and security.
- Our staff need more information on best practices in safety and security, including metal detectors.
- Our staff need additional support for their professional wellbeing.
One critical outcome of the safety review is Superintendent Lewandowski’s decision to renew our commitment to end the use of metal detectors for two primary reasons:
- Research: There is no evidence to support that metal detectors prevent violence in school settings. In fact, research suggests metal detectors contribute to poor learning environments, a false sense of security, and inequity. Unfortunately, even in serious safety incidents where metal detectors were present, such as in Memphis, Florida, and Red Lake, they were ineffective in preventing school shootings. Experts, researchers, and advocates all agree that trusting and caring relationships among students and staff, rigorous and engaging curriculum, and equitable discipline policies make schools safer than metal detectors could ever make them.
- Equity-Driven Trauma-Responsive Practices: We are investing in student-friendly, proactive school safety strategies because they build trust and advance positive learning environments. Our shifts away from School Resource Officers, metal detectors, and punitive discipline all support our strategic priorities of racial equity and trauma-responsive practices. This is what’s best for the unique student population we serve.
We expect there to be various responses from our school community about this continued change. Everyone’s feelings are valid. At the same time, we must prioritize doing what is best for students, especially Students of Color, and our values as a school district.