Williamsburg-James City County Schools (WJCC Schools) is committed to the safety of its students, staff, and visitors to our schools. While the division does not share detailed safety plans publicly, every school has security measures and procedures in place. These plans are routinely reviewed and practiced through lockdown and emergency drills in collaboration with local police, fire, and other emergency agencies.
In addition to emergency response plans, there are various safety measures in place in our schools to create positive learning environments. Some of these measures include:
- The presence of sworn police officers who work as School Resources Officers (SROs) in all middle and high school buildings to support safety efforts and partner with school administrators, students, parents, and staff;
- A buzzer entry system for visitors and card key access for staff members;
- Interior and exterior Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) in all schools which can be accessed remotely by local law enforcement agencies;
- Ongoing safety/emergency training for administrators, school counselors, social workers, and psychological staff;
- A Crisis Response Team in each school to lead the response to a variety of potential school emergencies;
- School visitor sign-in procedures that require, as a condition of entry, guests to scan an ID and wear a visitor’s badge;
- Use of the school division’s rapid notification system, to call, email and text families during an emergency to provide the most current information; and
- A school safety committee made up of school personnel and first responders who work together to identify new procedures, hardware, and technologies to strengthen school safety efforts.
While technology enhances our ability to provide a safe learning environment for students, human relationships also play a critical role. Students must feel comfortable talking with counselors, teachers, and other trusted adults to report a concern when they become aware of a potential safety issue related to their school.
While no school wants to have to employ the emergency plans it has in place; these measures are vital in preparing students, staff, and law enforcement agencies to respond to crisis situations effectively. WJCC Schools appreciates your partnership in talking about school safety with your family following the safety procedures in place at our schools.
WJCC Schools has adopted the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) developed by the “I Love U Guys” Foundation. Students and staff will learn the protocol and practice the actions during our state-required safety drill schedule.
SRP is action-based
The Standard Response Protocol is a new evidence-based protocol being adopted across Virginia and in our school division. The SRP is flexible, consistent and is easy to learn. It provides actions to take in any given scenario. The premise is simple: one of five specific actions can be taken during any incident. When communicating these actions, each is followed by a “directive.” This protocol helps guide staff and students to take the actions that will increase safety and security at WJCC Schools. Actions are:
- Hold (In Your Classroom or Area)
- Secure (Get Inside. Lock outside doors)
- Lockdown (Locks, Lights, Out of Sight)
- Evacuate (To a Location)
Posters like these (English/Español) will be displayed throughout our schools. Students and staff will become familiar with the protocol as it is practiced during state-required drills throughout the year. The clear language and directions of the protocol will make it easy for visitors and guests at our buildings to also safely follow SRP directions.
To ensure the safety of all, and promote efficient response and resolution of any situation, it will be essential for families to follow the protocol. Your partnership in promoting safety in our schools is appreciated.
Actions of the Standard Response Protocol:
“In Your Classroom or Area”
The Hold protocol is followed by the clear message “in your classroom or area.” This alert is used when hallways or access areas need to be kept clear such as during a medical issue or disruption. Students and staff are directed to remain in their classroom.
Inside the classroom, education continues per our normal routines.
“Get Inside. Lock outside doors.”
The Secure action is called when a threat or hazard outside the building makes getting inside the school building optimal. Examples would be criminal activity in a nearby neighborhood or a dangerous animal on the playground.
During a secure event, no one is allowed in or out of the building. Inside the school building, education continues per our normal routines.
“Locks, Lights, Out of Sight”
The Lockdown protocol is called when a possible threat or hazard is thought to be occurring inside the building such as an angry or violent parent, intruder, or the report of a weapon. Students and staff are directed to lock doors, get out of sight, and maintain silence. Internal barriers such as classroom doors are locked. If not within a classroom when the alert is called, students and staff learn to get to the nearest classroom or area with a door that can be locked.
If a lockdown is called, leaders at the school and division will likely be working with other agencies. Families may be asked to stay where they are and remain available to receive updates and instructions as needed.
Cell Phone Use
Use of cell phones may be prohibited during a lockdown to ensure everyone’s safety. If a lockdown is extended, the protocol allows students to take turns texting their families on a rotating basis to keep families informed.
What Families Do During Lockdown
Lockdowns can be stressful for all involved. In these situations, safety and reuniting families with their children as quickly as possible are top priorities. We urge families to listen to and heed the instructions provided via division or school texts, emails, or calls. If a lockdown is called, please do not come to the school building until notified. Depending on the event, families may be asked to pick up students at a different location other than the school.
“To a location”
Evacuate is called when there is a need to move people from one location to another for safety reasons, such as a mechanical failure or power outage that would disrupt the school day. The new location can be on or off site, depending on the situation.
What families do during an evacuation
Evacuations can be stressful for all involved. In these situations, safety and reuniting families with their children as quickly as possible are top priorities. We urge families to listen to and heed the instructions provided via division or school texts, emails, or calls. If an evacuation is called, please do not come to the school building until notified. Depending on the event, families may be asked to pick up students at a different location other than the school.
State the specific hazard and safety strategy
Shelter is called when specific protective actions are needed based on the threat. For example, staff and students learn safety responses to tornadoes, hazardous material situations or other local threats such as severe weather. Those specific instructions are given at the time this alert is called.
The Virginia Department of State Police maintains a sex offender registry which contains the following information on sex offenders who are required to register with the state: the offender’s name; all aliases that they have used or under which they may have been known; the date and locality of the conviction and a brief description of the offense; age, current address, and a photograph of the individual. The sex offender registry may be accessed at http://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/