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Keeping Students Safe

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Keeping Students Safe - Overview

Our number one priority and goal in the Hillsboro School District is ensuring students are safe. When parents send their children to school each day, they entrust us with their safety. And we take that responsibility very seriously.

Below is information on the network of adults, systems, structures, protocols, and other supports we leverage to keep our students, staff, and schools as safe as possible.

In the Fall of 2023, Sergeant Gilbert and Dr. Henson shared information for parents about social media for our adolescents.  Please see the recordings and slides below.

Sergeant Gilbert Recording (focus on laws and enforcement)

Sergeant Gilbert Slides

Dr. Henson Recording (focus on brain, parent contracts)

Dr. Henson Slides 

The national discussion around school safety has taken center stage in the aftermath of school shootings as well as too many other instances of school violence. As a result, there have been several calls for participatory action so that student voices can be heard. Linked below are documents that provide additional information about HSD's stance and preparation for potential student walkouts, vigils, and protests. For additional information, please speak with your school administrator. If you have questions about these materials or about how the District has communicated with administrators, staff, students, and families, please contact Communications Officer Beth Graser (503-844-1772).

  • This includes everything from the structural integrity of the building itself to fencing around the property to having a single point of entry during the school day. A number of safety improvements will occur at our campuses as a result of the passage of the 2017 capital construction bond. These improvements include video cameras at all schools, line-of-sight improvements from front door to main office, alert button at front desk, card key access, and so on.
  • The District has a District  Emergency Operations Plan and yearly each building administrator completes a Comprehensive Site Safety Plan specific to their building.
  • Security Trio. As of the end of summer 2022, ALL schools and district buildings are equipped with a security trio system consisting of entry access control, intrusion alarms, and cameras. According to HSD Public Safety Systems Specialist Fred Kuest, “HSD is the fourth-largest school district in the state, but has the top security system of all Oregon districts.”

Access control means that all doors to the buildings are kept closed and locked, and access is allowed only with a key card programmed for that building. If you do not have key card access, you must use the video doorbell and present identification to be let into the building through a secure entry vestibule. This allows access to the lobby or main office only; the rest of the building is locked off from the lobby area. Intrusion alarms activate when an entry point is opened without authorization. Security cameras allow monitoring of entry points and other areas inside and outside of the school. The system also includes a lockdown and lockout system that will automatically contact law enforcement. 

Other security measures include a completed Distributed Antenna System to ensure consistent coverage for police and fire radio communications, and security film added to main entry windows, vestibule windows, and other entry windows. Security film makes the glass harder to penetrate and holds shattered pieces in place, providing better protection. Not to be overlooked is human vigilance - alerting administrators or safety staff to suspicious or alarming activities, including over social media.   

  • As a district, we are responsible for ensuring students are supervised at all times during the school day, as well as during school-sponsored afterschool activities and events. Staff members and coaches have undergone full background checks, including fingerprinting. Volunteers must also consent to and pass a state-level background check before they can begin serving at a school, help chaperone a field trip, etc.

Firearms are not allowed on school district property or within school buildings, unless they are under the control of law enforcement, as provided by Board Policy KGBB: Firearms Prohibited.  

Oregon's Safe Storage law also requires that guns that are not carried by or under the control of an authorized person be secured with an engaged trigger or cable lock, in a locked container, or in a gun room. 

For more information about secure gun storage, visit https://besmartforkids.org/

  • When concerns are brought forth to school administration about a safety issue, an investigation is always conducted. This investigation includes fact-finding at a minimum and, depending on the situation, may also include some or all of the following:
    • Interviews of people who may have information related to the issue or incident.
    • Discipline per the Standards of Student Conduct.
    • Restorative practices (This is an approach based on respect, responsibility, relationship-building, and relationship-repairing that focuses on mediation and agreement rather than punishment.)
    • Threat assessment (This includes a thorough review of the incident and involvement of a student(s) by some or all of the following people, depending on the level of the threat: school and District staff, law enforcement, Care Coordinators, and our clinical psychologist.)
    • Home visit
    • Referral to community-based service and support agencies
    • Creation of a safety plan
    • Referral to law enforcement
    • Conclusion and findings
  • Investigation-related information is only shared with people who are authorized to receive it under FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) guidelines - it cannot be shared with other students, parents, or the community.
  • The primary purpose of a threat assessment is to prevent targeted violence. The threat assessment process is based upon analysis of the facts and evidence of behavior in a given situation. The appraisal of risk in a threat assessment focuses on actions, communication, and specific circumstances that may suggest an individual intends to carry out an act of violence and is engaged in planning or preparing for that event. In simpler terms, it is the assessment of the unique interaction and dynamics between the perpetrator or attacker, the target, and the situation they are in.
    • Goals:
      • To provide a protocol to assess threats of potentially harmful behaviors, risk factors, and action required to support school safety.
      • To provide a multi-level system that can mobilize broader community responses and resources to help facilitate the development and implementation of safety monitoring and management plans.
      • To develop and maintain a sense of safety among students, teachers, other staff members, and parents/guardians.
  • A threat assessment is conducted by the Hillsboro School District Student Threat Assessment Team (HSTAT) when there is a safety incident or concern about a student. The threat assessment is conducted at a Level 1 or Level 2 depending on the severity of the incident or nature of the concern.
    • Level 1 threat assessments are conducted at the building level by a cross-functional team of school and District staff.
    • Level 2 threat assessments are conducted at the District level and include school and District staff, law enforcement, Care Coordinators, Department of Human Services, Washington County Juvenile Department, Washington County Mental Health, Hillsboro Fire and our clinical psychologist.
  • If a student will return to school following a threat assessment, a specific safety plan is devised to ensure the safety of other students, staff, and the student in question.

 

  • The Standards of Student Conduct document details expectations of students while they are in school, on their way to or from school, participating in school-related activities, or engaging in behaviors that ultimately impact fellow students (e.g. cyberbullying, teen dating violence - see Policy JFCF: Hazing/Harassment/Intimidation/Menacing/Bulllying/Cyberbullying/Teen Dating Violence/Domestic Violence - Student and its accompanying administrative regulation: JFCF-AR) or the school environment (e.g. social media threats).
  • Included in the Standards of Student Conduct are examples of behaviors that result in certain disciplines up to and including suspension and expulsion.
  • Discretion is provided to administrators to consider contributing factors and extenuating circumstances when determining appropriate discipline or restorative practices for a violation of rules and/or expectations.
  • Creating safe and welcoming school environments is a top priority in the Hillsboro School District. At all levels of our system, there are programs and initiatives under way to help ensure that students are respectful, responsible, and safe in their behaviors and interactions with others. At the elementary level, the two main efforts are the PAX Good Behavior Game, which encourages students to create their own positive social norms and to follow simple cues for demonstrating expected behaviors at the appropriate time; and the Positive Behavior Intervention Support system (PBIS), which uses a positive reward system for reinforcing good behavior.
  • At the middle and high school levels, the efforts become more student-led. Each of our middle and high schools has a Unity Team advised by a staff member. Students involved in the Unity Teams help identify topics and issues that are most pertinent to their school and strategies for making improvements.
  • Peer mediation and leadership programs are used to provide leadership and mentorship opportunities to students and to foster their skills to problem-solve without asking an adult to intervene.
  • At the elementary level conflict managers are student in upper grades who agree to help mediate conflicts between students in younger grades, often at recess.
  • Hillsboro School District initiated a pilot program in the 2016-17 school year in which wellness centers were established in six elementary schools. Based on the principles of trauma-informed care, the wellness centers provide a space where students can regulate their feelings and behavior and learn skills and tools for keeping themselves regulated in the future. The pilot was so successful, it has now been expanded to 13 elementary schools, 1 middle school, and 1 high school:
    • Elementary Wellness Centers
      • Brookwood
      • Butternut Creek
      • Eastwood
      • Free Orchards
      • Ladd Acres
      • Lincoln Street
      • McKinney
      • Minter Bridge
      • Mooberry
      • Reedville
      • Rosedale
      • Witch Hazel
      • W.L. Henry
    • Middle School Wellness Center
      • South Meadows
    • High School Wellness Center
      • Century
  • Learn more about trauma-informed care on page 12 of our fall 2016 District Newsletter.
  • There are two mechanisms by which people can submit anonymous tips to the District if they have safety concerns:
    • Our District’s mobile app has an anonymous tip line feature that can be customized to indicate that the tip pertains to a particular school.
    • The State of Oregon has also launched a tip line called SafeOregon. Tips can be submitted in the following ways:
      • E-mail: tip@safeoregon.com
      • Call or text: 844-472-3367
      • Mobile app: on iTunes or Google Play
      • Web portal: http://safeoregon.com/report-a-tip/
      • All tips go immediately to a tip line technician 24x7x365. Tips are promptly analyzed and forwarded to designated personnel who can provide further assistance in resolving reported incidents. It is against the law to misuse SafeOregon. False or prank tips may be investigated by law enforcement (ORS 165.570).

 

  • Care Coordinators work to connect students and families with meaningful mental health services in the community. Care Coordinators receive referrals from school counselors and administrators. Additionally, the Care Coordinators regularly consult with schools on issues of mental health, facilitate the district’s suicide prevention program, lead the district Flight Team (support to schools following a death), and participate on the Hillsboro Student Threat Assessment Team. Each of the four Care Coordinators serve a feeder group that includes 8-9 schools.
  • Every school counselor and building administrator in the school district has been trained by the Care Coordinator team on how to use the HSD suicide intervention protocol; they function as Suicide Screeners for the school. Students who are suspected to be at risk for suicide are screened by a Suicide Screener to determine the need for further evaluation by a mental health professional. All school staff regularly receive a suicide awareness training that includes data and facts about suicide, warning signs and risk factors, steps to take if they suspect a student is at risk for suicide, and identifies the Suicide Screeners in the school building. High school students receive instruction in health class on mental health disorders and suicide prevention.
  • Student Health and Wellness Resources: /Page/5404
  • The ability for school staff to communicate with parents and guardians is critical, and begins with the school having complete and accurate contact information.
    • As you register your child for school or review the information in your child’s profile in our student information system, please ensure that we have the following:
      • Primary phone number identified for the student. This should be one of the parent’s/guardian’s phone numbers.
      • Primary phone number identified for each parent/guardian.
      • Alternate phone number(s) identified for each parent/guardian.
      • E-mail address for each parent/guardian.
      • Emergency contact person(s) identified, including phone numbers.
  • Attendance is taken at the beginning of each day in elementary school, and at the beginning of each period in middle and high school. Automated attendance calls are made at 9:45 a.m. each day for elementary students, at 11:30 a.m. each day for middle and high school students (a.m. periods), and at 5:30 p.m. each day for high school students (p.m. periods).
  • If your child is hurt or becomes ill at school, or for certain discipline proceedings, parents will be called immediately.
  • If there is an incident at your child’s school that necessitates communication, the communication will come in one or more of the following ways:
    • Remind message/mass text
    • Mass email 
    • Posting to the school website (all levels, depends on situation)
    • Posting to the District’s Safety Alerts webpage (all levels, depends on situation). Please note that information that is posted to the Safety Alerts webpage is archived for future reference.
    • Auto-dialer (all levels, depends on situation).
      • Please note that in most situations where the auto-dialer is used, it calls the number listed as the student’s primary number. If no number is listed in that field, you may not receive a call.
      • If there is a situation that is more severe or that impacts more than one school, the parent’s primary number may be called instead. If there are multiple parents in the system with different phone numbers in their “primary” field, it will call each parent’s primary phone number. If there are phone numbers listed, but none of them are designated as “primary,” the system may call all of the phone numbers.
    • Hard-copy letter sent home with students (elementary only)
    • Hard-copy letter available at front desk (all levels, depends on situation)
    • Hard-copy letter mailed home (all levels, depends on situation)
    • District Mobile App push notification (available at all levels, not consistently used). People can sign up for the Hillsboro School District’s mobile app and follow the accounts of the schools they’re interested in. If that school has an important message, they can send it out as a push notification that will be seen by people who are following that account. The District will also push notifications out to all subscribers when there is a change to the normal school day or an event that impacts multiple schools.
    • FlashAlert is a media alert system that schools and other public agencies use to send press releases and emergency messages to media outlets and people who have subscribed to receive updates. This system is used for inclement weather updates and emergency situations that affect multiple schools.
  • It should be noted that in the course of any school day, there are a number of incidents of all types that are routinely handled by student peer mediators, paraprofessionals, teachers, counselors, administrators, District Office staff, licensed specialists, police, and so on. Most of these incidents are dealt with relatively quickly and are not shared with the general student body, parents, or the community.
  • Certain things, of course, do rise to a level where broader communication is warranted. Most often, this is due to a specific or time-based incident or threat, other times it can be to correct a rumor or to calm social media activity in a school community.
  • Rumors and social media issues present a particularly difficult challenge for schools, as they are often found to contain misinformation and can be difficult to investigate. If the rumors or social media activity reach a level where they present a disruption to the school day or present legitimate concerns that students, staff, and parents should be made aware of, communication will begin, using the appropriate combination of channels listed above.
  • Monthly drills are required under ORS 336.071. Buildings are required to conduct a fire drill monthly in accordance with the District’s Emergency Operations Plan and Oregon Fire Code Section 405.2. The first fire drill of the year is to be conducted within the first ten days of school in accordance with Oregon Fire Code 408.3.1. Each building must also complete two earthquake drills, two lockdown drills, one lockout and then one drill of their choice which can include lockdown, lockout, reverse evacuation, shelter in place). Families will be notified about drills in advance so they can help reassure their child(ren) that everything is alright and that their school is just practicing to make sure students are as safe as possible at all times.   
  • The District has adopted the Standard Response Protocol or SRP to respond to the four most common emergency actions - lockout/secure, lockdown, hold, evacuate, shelter in place.
    • Definitions and actions:
      • Lockdown  is when there is a suspected threat inside the building requiring that all rooms housing students, staff and visitors be locked. All exterior doors should be secured. All staff members are empowered to activate a lockdown if they witness a threat.  
      • Lockout or Secure  is when there is a suspected threat outside the building, requiring that all building entrances be locked and secure. Classrooms that open directly to the outside and not to an interior hallway should lock their door and not let anyone in or out. All staff members are empowered to activate a lockout of they witness a threat.
      • Earthquake or Evacuation - when you feel the ground shake, keep calm and immediately take protective actions: Duck, Cover, Hold on and then evacuate when shaking stops.
      • Reverse Evacuation is used to help get students and staff back into the building when it is dangerous to remain outside.
      • Hold is used when the hallways need to be clear of people to deal with a situation that requires a level of privacy. 
      • Shelter in Place is a short-term measure implemented when there is a need to isolate students and staff from the outdoor environment or to prevent injury or exposure to airborne contaminants. Additional steps needed depend on the specific hazard. Possible hazards may include but are not limited to a wind storm, earthquake or hazardous chemical spill.
  • Building Strike Teams - In most emergencies, police, fire and emergency medical services can and will respond to our schools. If we were to have a catastrophic event that impacted our entire region, it is possible that emergency services may be delayed in responding. Six strike teams or roles have been developed to address the potential needs during this type of event. In an emergency the administrator on site will evaluate the situation and decide whether a strike team needs to be activated.
    • Student Assembly Team - purpose is to gather all attendance data and account for all students, staff and visitors during an evacuation.
    • Student Release Team - purpose is to ensure that students are safety reunited with their parent or authorized emergency contact.
    • First Aid Team - purpose is to provide first aid to injured students, staff and visitors until EMS arrives.
    • Search and Rescue Team - purpose is to assist in the safe evacuation of students, staff and visitors from the building; search for and rescue missing and/or injured students, staff or visitors while maintaining personal safety.
    • Facility, Security Response Team - Oversees the security and safety of the school building/ Directs initial building walk around assessing for damage.
    • Crisis Response Team - purpose is to provide psychological and emotional first aid to students, staff and visitors.

 

Fingerprinting and background checks are required for our volunteers and any contractors who provide services that may require the person to have direct, unsupervised contact with students. There could be circumstances where we have visitors, contractors, or vendors enter our schools that have not been background checked or fingerprinted. In those cases, we take extra steps to ensure they do not have direct, unsupervised contact with students. Watch this video for more information.