November 22, 2022
Each one of us in Groveport Madison Schools cares deeply about the safety and security of our students and staff members.
Recent events, including two students being arrested for bringing guns onto the high school campus and a fight between four students that resulted in the use of mace to disperse the crowd, have caused understandable concern and worry among students, staff, parents, and members of the community. These events greatly concern the Board of Education and the administration of the District, as well.
I want you to know that we already have many plans and systems in place to keep our students safe. We will continue to work with law enforcement officials, school safety and security experts, and our many stakeholders to ensure that we are providing a school environment where students feel safe, welcomed, and productive.
Schools are a microcosm or reflection of the communities they serve – there’s no magic pill that we can take to resolve safety concerns that frequently begin in the neighborhood or on one’s doorstep. However, we are committed to working with our students, staff, parents, and interested community members to address this challenge.
PLANS, SYSTEMS, AND SUPPORTS ALREADY IN PLACE
Each Groveport Madison location has a School Safety Plan that has been drafted in coordination with Groveport Police and Madison Township Police and Fire officials. These plans are submitted for review and approval to the Ohio School Safety Center.
Threat Assessment Team:
The high school has a threat assessment team that includes representatives from all aspects of our operation: principals, teachers, counselors, social workers, cooks, custodians, nurses, etc. The purpose of the threat assessment team is to identify students of concern, assess their risk for engaging in violence or other harmful activities, and develop intervention strategies to manage that risk.
Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) Training:
Training has been provided (or scheduled) for administrators, ED teachers, intervention services teachers, and GMHS security staff.
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS):
MTSS is a school-wide, data-driven, proactive framework for improving both learning and behavioral outcomes for all students. It utilizes evidenced-based practices and effective systems to improve core instruction and intervention.
Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) System:
PBIS is an evidence-based, tiered framework for supporting students’ behavioral, academic, social, emotional, and mental health. PBIS improves social-emotional competence, academic success, and school climate. It also improves teacher health and well-being. It is a way to create positive, predictable, equitable, and safe learning environments where everyone thrives.
Counseling and Mental Health Support:
To assist students in need, the high school has five counselors, one social worker, and four social work interns. In addition, the District also has seven school psychologists to assist students as needed. Students also are referred to outside agencies such as Concord Counseling, The Buckeye Ranch, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Identified Areas for Student Support and De-escalation:
The high school has a “Smart Lab,” which is overseen by the counselors and the social worker (and intern social workers from Ohio State Univ.). This is an area where students can go to relieve anxiety, address anger issues, or talk to someone about their concerns. The school also has a “Calming Room” where students can go to practice self-regulating skills when they are feeling stressed. There are sensory items and other manipulatives available to assist students.
Positive Reinforcement Programs for Students:
Lead the Way, Stepping Off to College, and Mapping Your Future.
School and Classroom Management:
- Class meetings are being held beginning November 28 to discuss behavior expectations and the consequences for violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Students also will be reminded of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign and how to report safety-related concerns anonymously through the SaferSchools Ohio System.
- Discontinue student access to “Guest WIFI” to limit student cell phone use for non-academic purposes in class. This was a significant concern brought to us by teachers, where students were using the District’s Wi-Fi to access movies and games and send one another text messages during classes. Students will still have online access to all schoolwork via their Chromebook computer.
- Implementing student I.D. cards with a magnetic strip and break-a-way lanyard. Students will need to use their I.D. card to get a hall pass.
- To get a hall pass, students will need to leave their bookbags in their classroom with their teacher. They can get their bookbag back when they return to class.
- Evaluate options through PBIS to create incentives for positive student behavior.
Revised Security/Traffic Control Protocols:
- Assign an individual to staff the security office cameras throughout the school day. That individual should be the central contact to take and disseminate calls for assistance to the administrative team and school security team.
- Revise dismissal procedures to reduce the number of students in transition at the same time.
- Increase staff presence during class changes, around restrooms, and before and after school.
Improving Communications Systems:
- Implement an emergency phone tree using Remind App.
- Have ordered 20 more walkie-talkies to be distributed to select staff members. This will bring the total number of devices to 40.
- Increase promotion of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign to encourage students to report concerns to a trusted adult at the school.
- Increase promotion of the SaferSchools Ohio tip line. The tip line is used to report safety-related concerns anonymously. Tips are called into the Ohio Department of Homeland Security, where they communicate verified concerns to local law enforcement officials and the school district’s director of safety.
Student Support Groups:
Create more opportunities for positive student leadership and development.
Stakeholder Advisory Committees:
Currently developing a list of students and parents to participate in safety advisory committees to the Board of Education.
SHORT-RANGE ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN (1-2 months)
GMHS Student Safety Survey:
Develop and conduct a comprehensive safety survey of GMHS students to get their feedback on various safety strategies under consideration.
GMHS Parent Safety Survey:
Develop and conduct a comprehensive survey of GMHS parents to get their feedback on various safety strategies under consideration.
Evaluate the feasibility of prohibiting the use of student backpacks. Look into what other school districts have done. Survey students and parents. (May become a long-range solution, depending on how long it takes to secure and install an additional 500 student lockers).
Recalibrate Vape Detectors:
Assess and adjust the sensitivity of Vape detectors to ensure the administrative team and security staff are appropriately being alerted to issues and concerns.
More Staff Supervision of Restrooms and Hallways:
Explore the possibility of assigning teachers and other staff to assist in covering restrooms throughout the school day.
Increase Positive Engagement Activities for Students:
The high school’s student leadership groups and staff advisors are looking at additional fun activities that can be implemented to promote a positive atmosphere at the school (events, intramural sports, and team-building opportunities).
MEDIUM-RANGE ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN (3-6 months)
Have learned that Public School Works has a de-escalation training module we can implement for staff. Also, looking into how we can expand de-escalation training for students.
LONG-RANGE ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN (7+ months)
Add Student Lockers:
The high school needs an additional 500 student lockers to implement a “No Backpack” policy.
ITEMS TO BE DISCUSSED WITH THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
We have preliminary information regarding the use of both mobile “wand-style” metal detectors as well as walk-through detectors. We are In the process of setting up visits to other school districts that are using the various detectors to determine the operational aspects of such an implementation. We are also in the process of getting pricing for commercial-grade equipment.
Increase Security Staffing:
Determine the feasibility of adding security staff to the high school. Increase recruiting efforts to attract female security staff candidates.
Additional Safety Staff:
Evaluate the feasibility of adding school safety staff.
Additional Student Support/Mental Health Staff:
Evaluate the feasibility of adding student support staff.
Additional School Resource Officer(s):
Evaluate the feasibility of adding one or more school resource officers with the respective agencies.
Detection/Emotional Support Dogs:
Evaluate the feasibility of adding detection/emotional support dogs.
Cruiser Academy Alternative Program:
Evaluate the feasibility of adding an off-site alternative program to serve students who have behavioral issues or other needs. This could include a night program and/or a digital component. This will require Board of Education action to implement this recommendation.
FALL 2022 PANORAMA SCHOOL SURVEY (SAFETY-RELATED QUESTIONS)
The District regularly conducts surveys of its students and staff to monitor conditions regarding school climate and culture. One-thousand, two-hundred, and forty-eight (1,248) GMHS students (appx. 65%) participated in the fall of 2022 survey. Results from the safety-related questions are included below:
- How often are people disrespectful to others at your school?
Almost never – 6% (79)
One in a while – 10% (128)
Sometimes – 33% (406)
Frequently – 28% (344)
Almost always – 23% (278)
- How often do students get into physical fights at GMHS?
Almost never – 4% (51)
One in a while – 13% (165)
Sometimes – 37% (452)
Frequently – 28% (349)
Almost always – 18% (219)
- How likely is it that someone from your school will bully you online?
Not at all likely – 37% (452)
Slightly likely – 18% (221)
Somewhat likely – 27% (331)
Quite likely – 11% (131)
Extremely likely – 8% (97)
- How often do you worry about violence at your school?
Almost never – 22% (272)
Once in a while – 19% (238)
Sometimes – 33% (405)
Frequently – 15% (349)
Almost always – 11% (136)
- If a student is bullied in school, how difficult is it for him/her to get help from an adult?
Not at all difficult – 19% (238)
Slightly difficult – 24% (299)
Somewhat difficult – 37% (458)
Quite difficult – 11% (140)
Extremely difficult – 8% (95)
- At your school, how unfairly do the adults treat the students?
Not at all unfairly – 22% (266)
Slightly unfairly – 28% (338)
Somewhat unfairly – 35% (431)
Quite unfairly – 10% (124)
Extremely unfairly – 6% (69)
We will keep you informed as we continue to develop our plans and need your assistance. Should you have concerns or ideas, feel free to email us at [email protected]
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.