Following the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, it is only natural that parents across the country are questioning the safety measures of the nation’s schools. It is important to know that Boulder Valley School District has a layered system of security in place to protect our children.
While BVSD cannot discuss specific security measures, actions or tactics, the district has worked closely with our partners in law enforcement to implement best practices, detect potential threats, and then to prepare our buildings and staff to react when a threat is realized.
The BVSD Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) outlines how the district will implement life- and property-saving actions when a major disaster or emergency occurs at one or more of our schools, sites, or buildings. The EOP describes the policies, concept of operations, response and recovery actions, and responsibilities of BVSD departments that guide operations following a major disaster or emergency.
Additionally, each school has its own emergency plan, which should be reviewed annually and updated as necessary.
The Standard Response Protocol
A crucially important part of this plan is the Standard Response Protocol. While it is impossible to predict and prepare for the exact circumstances of any given emergency -- through previous tragedies it has been learned that short, easy-to-remember commands and associated actions allow for clear communication and quick response during a crisis.
Lockout – Secure the Perimeter
During a Lockout, the danger is considered to be outside of the building. School personnel ensure all perimeter doors are locked and bring any students involved in outside activities indoors. Learning and other activities continue, as normal.
Lockdown – Locks, Lights, Out of Sight
During a Lockdown, the danger may be inside the building. The learning community and individual classroom doors are secured, lights are turned off and students are kept quiet and in place indoors.
Shelter in Place – Follow the Directions
When a school is sheltering in place, students and staff take actions to protect themselves from a potential danger (tornado, hazardous material, wildland etc.).
Evacuation – Follow the Directions
During an evacuation, students are moved away from possible danger in a quick, orderly process.
READ MORE: Information and videos about the SRP are available at www.bvsd.org/be-safe.
Physical Security Measures
BVSD is working to change the infrastructure at every school building, including using Bond dollars to add secured entry vestibules, where guests can be checked in before they have access to the building. BVSD also recently piloted a program at a few of our high schools that provided students with proximity key fobs. Combined with alarms that now alert district security when a door is left open, the district has seen a significant drop in doors being propped open.
SEL & Counselors
Meanwhile, BVSD is leading the way in the state when it comes to providing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) within our schools, as well as counselors at every level. The goal is ensuring that our buildings are safe and inclusive for all students and that our children are provided the tools and support needed to work through the challenges and frustrations that all of us inevitably face from time-to-time, in positive, proactive ways.
See Something? Say Something!
The best defense is the vigilance of our community. There are often signs before a tragedy. Potential threats can often be dealt with preemptively when students, parents, staff and community members Say Something when they See Something out of the ordinary, hear of a threat or learn that someone is hurting.
BVSD has created a system where our security team and leaders are able to share and analyze incidents and these reported concerns. Our staff works closely with our School Resource Officers (SROs), the deputies and officers who are dedicated to working at our schools, to assess and check on potential concerns.
Please know, BVSD always takes reported threats to our schools seriously. Working closely with our partners in law enforcement, we determine each report’s credibility as soon as possible by evaluating evidence, conducting interviews and gathering other intelligence. In some cases investigators are able to ascertain that there is no substance to the threat and therefore regular activities should continue, as normal.
When a threat is considered credible, BVSD is committed to notifying parents with as much information as possible, including information about the threat and actions that can be taken to protect students and staff.
READ MORE: Be Ready Website