Student safety is a top priority for Salem City Schools. Throughout the year, we work with the Salem Police Department and Salem Fire and EMS personnel to develop building-specific security procedures. We then apply these plans by participating in emergency management training and activities. Through our partnership with the Salem Police Department, School Resource Officers (SROs) are assigned to all six of our schools in Salem.
School and division leaders work throughout the year evaluating security measures and planning for both response and prevention. School Safety Audits are completed using a process and checklist developed by the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. The Audit Team is comprised of the Resource Officer assigned to the respective school, a Salem Police Department Captain and both parent and staff representatives.
School safety and security are ongoing priorities. In addition to annual school safety audits, the division collaborates with Salem Police and EMS on training exercises. School crisis plans for all six schools also are updated and reviewed annually by the School Board. While much of our planning and preparation is understandably confidential, we are happy to work with Salem families who are interested in learning more about these plans. We have established a School Safety & Emergency Preparedness webpage for families for this purpose.
In addition to securing school buildings, prevention also focuses on assisting individuals in need. In accordance with state law, each school has a Threat Assessment Team to promote safety in the schools. The Salem School Division’s Threat Assessment Team is made up of Central Office personnel, school administration, guidance members, the school’s Resource Officer and other individuals with expertise in mental health and school safety. Should you have concerns, please communicate those concerns promptly to your student’s principal.
Each year, our Salem City Schools seek to expand and improve physical security with a combination of local and state resources. Most recently, a state security grant was used to increase the number of surveillance cameras at Andrew Lewis Middle School and the division also budgeted to add new cameras and improve the quality of older ones at Salem High School. All six Salem schools have the benefit of surveillance systems, secure, “buzz-in” entrances, visitor verification software and trained staff.
Specific questions or concerns regarding a student’s school should be directed to the principal to ensure a prompt and school-specific response. Parents interested in learning more about the safety and security of our schools are also welcome to contact Dr. Forest I. Jones, Director of Administrative Services. Parents interested in learning more about Threat Assessment procedures are invited to contact Dr. Randy Jennings, Director of Student Services. Both may be reached at 389-0130.
Together we can continue to make our schools safe and productive learning environments.