For years, Rockcastle County Schools have partnered with local law enforcement to ensure our schools are one of the safest places in our community. In fact, it is our top priority. No child should have to go to school in fear, and every parent should have a reasonable expectation that his or her child is safe at school. Our resolve is stronger today than ever before.
Here are some things we have done, and some things you can do to partner with us in this important matter:
- There will be an increased presence of law enforcement in our schools.
- Ongoing communication between community law enforcement officials.
- During the school day, all doors are locked. Access to the building is granted through a controlled entry point at the front door. All visitors entering the school must show identification that allows us to know who is in the building at all times.
- All schools practice lockdown as part of our regular drill schedule; these are implemented in response to any threatening event in or near a school including active shooter.
- All schools have participated in safety audits by the Kentucky Center for School Safety. Projects that were initiated as a result include buzzer systems, upgraded and increased number of security cameras and increased number of security cameras on school buses.
- We work hard to maintain positive relationships so students and staff feel safe reporting concerns to a trusted adult. We take these concerns seriously and immediately investigate anytime issues like these are brought to our attention.
- Consulting with a retired Kentucky State Police member about ongoing safety improvements.
Additional items of consideration and ongoing discussion:
- Anonymous tip-line or help-line
- New upgraded surveillance camera equipment
- District safety webpage/communication of safety tips
- Additional handheld metal detector wands will be provided to schools
- Additional staff to monitor hallways and vestibules and grounds throughout the day at high school and middle school
- Law enforcement schedules will provide additional presence as appropriate and for afterhours programs and athletic events
- Improve notification system for community, families, parents and staff
- Survey of all buildings and campuses to improve security.
Here are some things parents can do to help:
- We encourage parents to have age-appropriate conversations with their children about the importance of sharing concerns or information they might have.
- Talk to your child about his/her feelings; share your feelings.
- Limit your child’s access to media coverage of school tragedies.
- Reassure your child that s/he is safe. Remind your child that s/he is surrounded by people who love and care for him/her, at home and at school.
- Those of us who are parents are reminded by this event of the importance of being aware of what’s going on in the lives of our children. Checking bedrooms, backpacks, cell phones, social media accounts and our teenagers’ cars is an important responsibility; as parents, that’s our job. When schools and homes work together on behalf of kids, everyone is safer.
- If your child demonstrates anxiety or behaviors that cause concern, reach out for assistance. Your school’s guidance counselors and Family Resource/Youth Service Centers are here for you, as well as your principal and teachers.
- The National Association of School Psychologists has developed helpful guidelines to assist parents in talking with their children about high-profile acts of violence. This document is linked below. Our schools regularly perform lock-down drills to ensure that our faculty, staff and students know what to do in the event of an incident. Our expectation is that school doors are locked during the day, with access to each building controlled by a school staff person who visually identifies every visitor before they are admitted to the building.
In spite of these steps, we continue to work together to identify and implement tools and strategies that will make our schools safer, minimize their appeal as potential targets, and – ultimately – keep our children safe. In addition, we need our entire community to help us identify those who might threaten or bring harm to our students.
Please call Rockcastle County Schools immediately at 606-256-2125 or 911 to report anything suspicious, whether it’s a comment or post on social media, a conversation overheard, your child’s remark at the dinner table about something another student said at school, or anything else that gives you pause. When in doubt, please call us!
While we hope that none of our safety plans are ever tested, our staff is in a continual process of evaluating, researching, and updating plans accordingly. Please be assured, we will take all steps necessary to keep RCS a safe place to learn and work. Student safety is our top priority. Any incident that jeopardizes student safety will be treated with swift and appropriate action.