Safety & Security
Creating a culture of safety is a top priority and requires a strong partnership between home and school. Our schools are an extension of our great community, and we join you in an unwavering commitment to uphold high-quality safety and security standards for our students and staff. Every year, we make revisions and improvements to our safety procedures based on current best practices. These improvements are embedded into our training with our law enforcement partners. We also work with national school safety experts, mental health professionals, and various Lake County agencies dedicated to working with schools.
In the unfortunate event that an emergency or crisis situation occurs in our area during the school day, we want you to know that Fremont School District 79 is prepared. With the help of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Countryside Fire Protection District, we have designed a FSD79 Standardized School Crisis Plan that will guide us in effectively responding to these types of situations. Every fall, the District reviews the Crisis Plan in collaboration with local emergency responders.
While the natural instinct as a parent in an emergency is to call or go to the child’s school to safeguard him/her, please understand that doing so may significantly impede our response capabilities, as well as those of our emergency responders. It is vital that school officials, police departments, and fire departments have access to our buildings to manage the situation and give care to students. It is also necessary that our phone lines remain clear.
The following methods of communication will be utilized by the District in the event of an emergency:
If you have any questions or concerns regarding student safety, please do not hesitate to contact the assistant principal at your child’s school. Thank you for being our partners in keeping our students safe.
Acting under the guidance of the Federal Department of Homeland Security and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Fremont School District 79 adopted the “ALICE” protocol to enhance security. Under ALICE, students and staff are empowered to take the steps necessary to increase survivability. ALICE means:
A = Alert: Staff is notified that a threat is present, and that defensive action is to be taken;
L = Lockdown: As a first defense, students are ushered out of sight and protected behind locked doors;
I = Inform: Staff is notified of the nature and location of the threat to build situational awareness;
C = Counter: As a last resort, staff and students may work to either physically avoid or engage the threat; and
E = Evacuate: As a preferred action, staff and students will move rapidly away from the threat.
FSD79 students are trained annually in an age-appropriate manner for how to respond should an intruder enter one of the schools.
A soft lockdown is primarily used in two different scenarios. The first is when conditions exist outside of the school building that could potentially present a threat to the safety of the students and staff. The second is a situation inside the building where the school or local emergency responders need to keep students and staff in their classrooms and away from an incident or activity. During a soft lockdown students and staff can continue normal classroom activities.
A hard lockdown is used when a serious/volatile situation exists that could jeopardize the safety of students and staff. No one is allowed to leave their rooms/offices during a hard lockdown.
An evacuation is necessary when it is determined that conditions outside of the building are safer than those inside the building.
Sheltering-in-place provides refuge for students and staff inside the school building during a weather, hazardous materials, or other similar emergencies. Students and staff move to designated shelter areas that maximize their safety.
Threat Assessment Procedures
In the event that a threat is reported to a school principal, Step 1 is to evaluate the threat. A specific account of the threat should be obtained by interviewing the student who made the threat, the recipient of the threat, and any other witnesses. The circumstances under which the threat was made and the student’s intentions should be considered.
Step 2 is to decide whether the threat is transient or substantive. Factors that will be taken into consideration include the student’s age, the credibility of the threat, and any previous discipline history. If it is determined the threat is transient, then Step 3 may include a consequence, parental notification, or other disciplinary action. The student may be required to make amends and attend mediation or counseling.
If the threat is substantive or the threat meaning is not clear, then Step 4 is to decide the severity of the threat as serious or very serious.
A serious threat initiates Step 5. In this case, immediate precautions are taken to protect potential victims, including notifying the potential victim and that intended victim’s parents. The parents of the individual making the threat also will be notified. Contacting law enforcement is also considered at this point. The student will be consequenced in relation to the severity and chronicity of the situation.
A threat that is determined to be very serious initiates Step 6 and precautions are taken to protect the potential victim, as well as notify that individual and his/her parents. Parents of the individual who made the threat are notified and law enforcement also is consulted. A mental health evaluation of the student will take place and the student will be consequenced as appropriate. Finally, Step 7 is to implement a written safety plan and to revise the plan, as needed, while maintaining contact with the student.