Penn Manor School District takes the safety and security of our students and staff very seriously. Whether it is prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, or recovery, our district strives to manage every phase of emergency readiness. Our work to strengthen the safety and security measures is ongoing. We constantly review and reflect on our practices so we can improve our safety and security protocols. This information is to give parents, students, staff and community members a better understanding of the safety measures of the district.
Safety and Security Measures
Because of our commitment to safety and security preparedness, Penn Manor School District has the following structures in place.
The All-Hazards Plan provides a framework from which we build a safe and secure learning environment, with the ability to respond promptly and appropriately in the event of an emergency. This plan is revisited annually and following any critical incidents, either in our district or across the nation. We strive to manage as effectively as possible every phase of emergency readiness.
Districtwide Safety & Security Committee
This committee includes internal stakeholders to review current structures, practices, and procedures and make recommendations to administration and the school board.
District Safety and Security Officer
Working in coordination with our Superintendent, building principals, and other school leaders, the District Safety and Security Officer heads efforts focused on promoting the safety of our schools.
Emergency Management Coordination
We maintain close working relationships with local law enforcement and emergency management services. This includes four different law enforcement agencies as well as multiple volunteer fire companies and emergency agencies.
Memorandum of Understanding
Penn Manor maintains agreements with community organizations to access shelter locations should there be a need to evacuate a school beyond our district facilities.
School Resource Officer (SRO)
A Millersville Borough Police Department officer is assigned to Penn Manor High School during the school year. The main goal of the SRO is to provide a highly visible presence that promotes positive relationships between youth and law enforcement that, in turn, helps prevent issues.
Threat Assessment Teams
As required by Act 18 of 2019, Penn Manor School District has a threat assessment team. The team is responsible for “the assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior may indicate a threat to the safety of the student, other students, school employees, school facilities, the community, or others.” The Threat Assessment Team also is responsible for providing training, education, and information to members of our school communities.
General Practices and Procedures
Building Visitor Procedures
We may require visitors to present photo identification upon arrival at any of our school buildings. Visitors will be required to have building passes.
Surveillance Camera Systems
Cameras are positioned in our buildings and on school buses and are evaluated regularly.
We provide teaching and learning opportunities for staff related to things such as response procedures (Escape, Enhance, Engage) and steps to be taken in more general critical incident scenarios, such as severe weather events.
Learning Experiences for Students
Various drills such as fire drills, severe weather drills, and lockdown and evacuation drills are measures taken by our schools to prepare students for an emergency. We recognize developmental differences among our K-12 students and attempt to tailor these trainings and drills appropriately in an effort to prepare students without frightening them
We want students to grow up seeing police officers as resources, not as individuals to fear. Therefore, we extend an open invitation to our police partners to visit and walk through our buildings and interact with students and staff. We believe this to be critical to the promotion of healthy relationships between the school and law enforcement communities.
Social & Emotional Supports
As a district, we believe supporting the social and emotional health of students ties closely with maintaining safe, secure school environments. The framework used for academic and behavioral interventions include tiered systems of support, school-wide positive behavior plans, anti-bullying initiatives, and protocols for handling a concern.
As one facet of providing a safe and secure learning environment for our students, we take active measures to prevent illegal materials from being present in our schools. All hallway and gym lockers are the property of the school and are loaned to our students. School officials may search student lockers if the building administrator has a reasonable belief that a student’s locker contains an article in violation of federal, state or local law, school policies or regulations. Per our school board policy #226, these searches may include the use of canine units. Any illegal materials found as a result of a search may be used as evidence against the student in disciplinary, juvenile, or criminal proceedings.
Additionally, cars located in permitted parking lots on school property are subject to search without additional prior notice. These searches may also include the use of canine units. The search of a student’s person and personal property will be permitted when there is a reasonable belief that the student has possession of items in violation of federal, state, or local laws. If a search requires a pat-down, the search shall be conducted by a designated school official of the same sex in the presence of another school staff member. Our desire is that students continue to be part of the solution in helping to make our schools safe places to learn by reporting any illegal materials to an adult.
Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
Penn Manor Information Technology works to protect the integrity, security, and confidentiality of student and staff data. We invite our parents and community to join us in taking a few key steps to prevent cyber crime.
Penn Manor also strives to balance successful learning experiences with protecting childrens’ privacy and personal information. Under federal law titled Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), websites must provide parental notification and obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13. We encourage parents and caregivers to review our list of common school web resources and their privacy policies.
Shared Safety Language
If we believe there is an internal or external threat of harm to students or staff, the building will initiate a lockdown to minimize access to the school and secures staff and students in rooms. As part of this procedure, students may utilize the skills learned during response training.
This procedure is used when the school is evacuated or closed as a result of an accident, school violence, threat, or attack. A designated location will be established for parents to reunite with their children following an emergency. This reunification site may be at the school or at an alternative location in cases where the school building has been evacuated.
Shelter in Place
This is a precaution aimed at keeping students and staff safe while remaining indoors. Situations that may require a shelter in place include natural disasters, severe weather, accidental or intentional release of chemical, biological or radiological material, or an emergency safety situation in the community.
Often, the most important piece of safety and security is obtaining key information before someone makes the decision to commit a harmful act. Receiving tips and information in advance of anything happening allows us to investigate and take steps to prevent harm from occurring. If something does not look, sound, or feel right, we encourage anyone to report the concern.
There are numerous ways for students and parents/guardians to report concerns, including:
- Tell an adult (teacher, staff member, administrator)
- Send an e-mail to your building principal/assistant principal/dean of students
- Call the school
Act 44 established the Safe2Say Something program to ensure that individuals can anonymously report unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in a school entity or the threat of such activities at a school. Safe2Say is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” BEFORE it is too late. Anonymous tips may be submitted using Pennsylvania’s Safe2Say Something website or mobile app. If an action that raises concerns occurs outside of the school day, contact the local police department for an immediate response.
When fielding concerns, school administrators start with an investigation. During investigations, administrators are looking for specific details – time, location, and individuals involved. The more specific, the better. Timely reporting is key to investigations.
School actions or discipline are based upon board policy, the Student Code of Conduct, and federal/state regulations by which school must abide, such as IDEA.
Communicating about Emergencies
We work intentionally to develop and send messages that keep our parents, students, staff and other community members informed. We focus on providing clear and accurate information before releasing it to the public. While we understand that people may want immediate details, our goal is to provide information as timely as possible, ensuring that what we release is accurate. We also coordinate with our local police departments to ensure that the information shared is clear and consistent.
We use official district communication channels for releasing information, such as the district website and for events that warrant it, the district’s emergency notification system to send emails and/or text messages. Parents and guardians should update the district when their contact information changes.