What safety protocols are in place throughout the Ann Arbor Public Schools?
Student safety is the top priority of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Even before the critical mission of teaching and learning, student safety remains our top concern. This priority is taken seriously as we continue to improve and expand training for our staff, assess our schools for facility safety and implement new tools that provide additional measures of safety for students and staff. Here are a few of our safety programs, assessments and procedures.
ALICE Intruder Training – All Washtenaw County schools are trained in this protocol that teaches proactive responses to school intruder emergencies. Research has shown that this protocol increases the rate of survival during an active shooter event. AAPS partners with the Ann Arbor Police Department, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department and the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety to train staff. ALICE teaches and practices evacuate, lockdown and barricade and as a last resort a counter response. The state requires intruder drills as part of their safety drill requirements. Age appropriate conversations are held in the schools during the intruder drills. Here is a link to the ALICE K-12 protocol
The Executive Director of Student and School Safety is a trained and certified ALICE trainer.
School Security Assessments – During spring of 2018 all 32 AAPS schools were assessed for safety by SEC/Firestorm, experts in site assessment. SEC/Firestorm evaluated each school’s environment, exterior, interior, policy and procedures and training and equipment for vulnerabilities and practices. SEC/Firestorm’s general finding statements:
- AAPS has done a remarkable job of maintaining a safe environment while seeking assistance in continuous improvement of its safety and emergency preparedness program.
- While AAPS, like many other organizations, does have room for improvement, its locations are generally safe and secure environments.
- Ann Arbor Public Schools has committed itself to continuous improvement. Having the district assessment completed as well as continuing its training regimen is critical.
General Door Security – Interior and Exterior
AAPS has required all schools to keep their exterior doors locked during the school day. Some schools have opted to open a set of exterior doors for the start and end of the school day along with staff at these doors. Other schools have opted to keep their doors locked at the arrival and dismissal times. Both of these options are acceptable as confirmed by SEC/Firestorm.
Interior classroom doors are to be kept locked at all times but teachers may opt to keep the door open or closed, depending on the school climate. SEC/Firestorm confirmed this as an acceptable safety protocol for our schools. Principals work closely with their staff to ensure classroom doors are locked and either open or closed during the school day.
There are a variety of other safety measures that have or are being implemented in our schools. Our goal is to provide a safe learning environment with trained staff and thorough crisis response plans. We understand the balance of “hardening” our schools for safety and the need to maintain a warm and welcoming teaching and learning environment for our students and families.