“Safety isn't expensive, it's priceless." - Unknown
Statistically, K-12 schools in the United States – including those in Jurupa – are extraordinarily safe. Yet violence on campus still occurs too often, making headlines and disconcerting families, educators, and communities nationwide.
Today, Jurupa's 26 schools are safer than ever, thanks to great work by Maintenance and Operations staff and a 2014 school facilities bond approved by local voters.
The facilities bond, Measure EE, has enabled and accelerated millions of dollars in safety improvements at Jurupa schools, educators said.
“Our community, in supporting the bond, has been a fantastic partner in ensuring school safety," said district Superintendent Elliott Duchon. “There is no higher priority at JUSD than campus security and the safety of students, teachers and staff."
In California, all K-12 schools must create a Comprehensive School Safety Plan, to be updated yearly. The plan, crafted by principals, teachers, staff and parents, with help from law enforcement, includes crime-data analysis, dangerous-pupil reporting procedures, disaster response plans, anti-harassment policies, and guidelines for school discipline, mental-health counseling, and law enforcement on campus.
Jurupa also emphasizes tangible security improvements to make every school day as safe as possible. Examples of safety upgrades completed by JUSD include:
Single entry point. The district limits campus entry points to better control who steps on campus. Crews have installed fencing at various sites as needed to block unauthorized access.
Visitor screening. The ID of every visitor on campus is instantly compared against sex offender databases in all 50 states, via the Raptor Visitor Management System.
Active shooter training. A retired police officer led sessions for teachers and staff at every JUSD school, reviewing such concepts as run, hide, fight; breathing techniques to stay calm; concealment vs. cover (only the latter stops a bullet); and the Observe, Orient, Decide and Act (OODA) loop, which favors agility over power.
Emergency notifications. The district uses a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Telephone System to securely communicate with staff, students and parents during times of threat or crisis.
Panic hardware. Where possible, the district has installed devices that keep doors locked from the outside while allowing rapid exit and/or evacuation from the inside.
Bus fleet tracking. The district uses Zonar, which tracks school buses in real time and alerts school officials when the vehicles need maintenance. The Versatrans My Stop app lets parents see their child's bus location and estimated time of arrival to and from school.
To further support student health and safety, JUSD also ensures:
Law enforcement presence at school sites. Through the district's partnership with the Sheriff's Department, full-time School Resource Officers (SRO) assist at three comprehensive high schools, one continuation high school and three middle schools. Each SRO also monitors the neighboring elementary schools. The officers help prevent crime, maintain school order and respond to emergencies.
Counseling and mental health support. The district's Department of Parent Involvement and Community Outreach (PICO) helps connect families with mental health professionals as needed and contracts with mental health service providers for school-based mental health services.
Positive behavior reinforcement. The district's award-winning Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program has nurtured at-risk students and reduced suspensions, expulsions and classroom disruptions districtwide.
The district works continually to improve and augment security. Additional upgrades completed or underway include:
Exterior security cameras at designated sites to enhance accountability and deter misconduct.
Access control hardware: a centralized system through which a site manager can lock down a single door or the whole campus – restricting entry and/or exit during an emergency.
Communications system upgrades, to update emergency equipment.
Safety and facility upgrades have made a dramatic difference, educators say.
“Ina Arbuckle Elementary looks like a brand-new school," said Ina Principal James Wandrie. “Our updated classrooms, new playground, refurbished library, and safety gates have changed our school's learning environment. It has been a blessing to our entire community."
Teachers and students said campus safety improvements have been a game-changer.
“JUSD is working hard to keep our students and staff safe," said Heather Knell, a teacher at Peralta Elementary. “It is impossible for students to learn without limits if they are worried about unsafe people coming on campus. Security gates and a single point of entry for all JUSD schools give us peace of mind."
Kaitlin, an eighth-grader at Del Sol Academy, said: “Del Sol is a really safe school. There is only one way to get into the school and it is monitored closely. Also, there is fencing that surrounds our campus, keeping those who could harm us out."
Alejandro, a third-grader at Stone Avenue Elementary, added: “I feel safe at Stone Avenue because my teacher protects us in the classroom and nothing bad happens here."
JUSD will continue to enhance, modernize and strengthen security districtwide, Mr. Duchon said.
“At Jurupa, school safety is and will remain paramount," the superintendent said. “To everyone in our community, I'd like to say thank you for supporting school safety via Measure EE. You have made such a difference."