Henrico County Public Schools held a Community Safety Forum on March 28, 2018, to discuss safety at the school division’s 72 schools and program centers. The meeting was open to the public and at least 175 people attended including students, parents, school administrators, public safety leaders and elected officials. Following a series of brief presentations in the auditorium of Hungary Creek Middle School, participants then broke off into one of seven smaller classroom sessions. During these “breakout sessions” participants were asked to contribute their thoughts and ideas related to topics that included: Building security, relationships, social and emotional student support, safety protocols/procedures and partnerships. After all ideas were documented on chart paper, participants were given three “sticky dots” and asked to place their dots beside their three highest priorities (totals indicated below within parentheses). The more dots placed beside an idea signaled a greater level of support from the evening’s participants.

The priorities identified at the Community Safety Forum will help the school division identify and plan future safety efforts. These priorities will also be shared with Virginia lawmakers who are interested in improving school safety, including the House select committee on school safety.

The full results from the Community Safety Forum are below. To visit our Health and Safety home page click here.

Group 1

Building Security Relationships Social & Emotional
Student Support
Safety Protocols Partnerships
  •  SROs at all schools at all times (10)
  • Police patrol, signage and police car parked as deterrent/use of drones (3)
  • Control access points; enclose front office area (1)
  • Advanced security systems with metal detectors and video cameras (1)
  • Building materials:  allow cell phone reception, bullet-proof glass, door guards, no glass on interior doors
  • Technology controls to curb bullying on social media (3)
  • Educate families – safety, firearms, Silence Hurts (2)
  • Increase communication, over 85 languages in HCPS (2)
  • Educate parents on social media apps
  • School administration training on Silence Hurts
  • Tools for parents – how to handle student anxiety due to threats, events
  • Protocol for better communication to parents
  • Resources to identify bullying behavior at age
  • Increase student/counselor ratio (10)
  • Behavior support specialist (LCSW) (5)
  • Administrative support for counselors/social workers
  • Community liaison for traumatic events
  • Consistent message from administration to address crisis
  • Marketing efforts to promote discussion of sensitive subjects
  • Lockdown/Signal Blue – evaluation of current protocol (2)
  • Standardized escape routes in each classroom (1)
  • Accountability
  • Training for substitute teachers
  • More information to parents – what happens during drills or actual safety issues
  • Communication to students during safety issue and make them feel comfortable
  • Lobbying legislation for access to student records /asking for what we need (4)
  • Community centers, churches and bi-lingual partners (3)
  • School wish lists – community to help; equity and diversity (2)
  • PTA partnerships throughout county, not just for their school (2)
  • Increase cross-county sharing of ideas and communication in metro area
  • Funding for security items
  • Transparency
  • School safety committee

Group 2

Building Security Relationships Social & Emotional
Student Support
Safety Protocols Partnerships
  • Vestibules/sally port, full time SRO &SSO at every school (8)
  • Metal detectors (5)
  • Student identification-chips, some form of electronic monitoring and recording, thumb prints for entry(4)
  • Training for front office secretaries
  • Staff monitoring
  • Open campuses enhanced
  • Hermitage HS specifically mention-early bird students being let in by other students, SRO out for several days
  • Understaffed school counselors (7)
  • Communications, reporting, texting system (4)
  • “Silence Hurts” ineffective (3)
  • Dean of Students & Family Advocates at every school; Full time licensed Admin & supervisor K-12 (3)
  • Teacher check-ins
  • Communication between school administration and parents where concerns are present
  • Social media training-greater promotion of digital citizenship
  • Engaging and utilizing community based mental health services, private practices, supplemental support for school counselors (4)
  • Expanding positive outreach between fire dept., police dept. School opening greeters/mentors (1)
  • Checking in with students proactively (1)
  • Contract signed by parents to responsively store firearms and prescription drugs.
  • Day treatment programs at middle and high schools
  • Automated alert system alerts sent to phones similar to “Amber Alerts”. App entitled “Remind” used at Maybeury  (9)
  • Auto-locking doors in emergency-concerns of students trapped in hallway (1)
  • Visitor management on high traffic days-protocols are relaxed to deal with traffic-maintain security protocols
  • Election Day protocols when school is in session
  • CPR training and first aid kits in every classroom (tourniquet)
  • Consider students with special needs
  • Crisis Training
  • Escape ladders
  • Working with emergency personnel to ensure that classroom and schools are equipped with appropriate first aid supplies
  • School based community watch

Group 3

Building Security Relationships Social & Emotional
Student Support
Safety Protocols Partnerships
  • Make entrances safer (7)
  • Consistent badge system at all schools; three standard questions before entry is granted, rotate the colors of the badge, make sure protocol is being followed (6)
  • Rubber door stops, wands and vestibules added (3)
  • School Security Officers full time (3)
  • Secure entrance exterior and interior (2)
  • Volunteers to monitor hallways (1)
  • Door locking protocol-locking door from inside/outside
  • Active Shooter Training
  • Placing film over front door to see out but not in
  • Open campuses, who is present when schools are designed, security going forward
  • Create events at schools to bring in families, communities (3)
  • Communication between schools, law enforcement, mental health professionals (1)
  • Inclusion limited by language barriers, access to technology, hearing impaired, lgbtq (1)
  • Encourage schools/PTA’s to have safety committees formed and communicate this clearly
  • Who audits “Silence Hurts”; is there a “text” option
  • Include and consider all cultures
  • Henrico create a task force to further discuss
  • Lower School Counselor/student ratio, more staff/assistants (7)
  • Students and parents receive education/training on how to identify students or peers in trouble (7)
  • Develop skills to be resilient (3)
  • Opportunities for children and teens to develop social skills by talking, sitting together during lunch and at recess (2)
  • Student “Comment Box” (2)
  • Organizations for students to help students/mentorships (1)
  • Behavioral intervention teams, communicate information
  • More school resource officers-how to get more (8)
  • What are we consistently teaching the children (safety drills)-follow up with parents afterwards
  • Communication System between teachers and main office such as Hanover
  • “Gun Free” signs-remove?
  • Offer internships to local colleges for administrative positions (1)
  • Local non-profits, utilize existing services, assign someone to make connections, “community resource officer” (1)
  • Partner with parents of all backgrounds to get input, to teach about safety and support services (1)
  • Ensure our officers are equipped and responsive

Group 4

Building Security Relationships Social & Emotional
Student Support
Safety Protocols Partnerships
  • Limit non-essential access by visitors (3)
  • Secured emergency exits from classrooms (2)
  • Standardize drills/security across county (1)
  • Testing (more?) on ease of school access across all Henrico schools (1)
  • More emphasis on school buildings (built for safety) (1)
  • Consistency of all door/vestibule security
  • Evaluate whether safety measure are effective and not harmful
  • Require clear backpacks (used in Florida school)
  • Smaller Class sizes to forge relationships (6)
  • Measure and develop empathy, engagement and hope (2)
  • Address staffing issues in admin. (2)
  • More/better communication around safety issues (2)
  • Address isolation of students
  • Connections among HCPS administrators for safety ideas
  • More emphasis on early diagnosis and help for students w/mental illness and struggles (4)
  • More emphasis on bullying prevention and more clarity and follow through (4)
  • Visibility for students/resource s for help in bullying, mental health (easy access-make it easy/transparent)
  • Standing task force for safety (Chesterfield) (6)
  • Plans in place for emergency notification management upkeep & testing (2)
  • Metal detection wands; use them more (1)
  • Random locker checks
  • Henrico add gun control to legislative priorities (9)
  • Home/school partnership to ensure that guns are secured/not accessible to students.  Moms demand action programs (2)
  • Formalized purposeful vehicle for student input (student congress?) (1)

Group 5

Building Security Relationships Social & Emotional
Student Support
Safety Protocols Partnerships
  • More security officers (8)
    Walkie-talkies for all staff in the building and classrooms(3)
  • More security in elementary schools (2)
  • Enhanced video surveillance (1)
  • 360 degree view of the schools (1)
  • Surprise audits, community member on the audit team, results available to the community (1)
  • FLIR device (1)
  • Jewelry store-type fog machine-hard to see your target(1)
  • Decrease response time and distance for 1st responders (1)
  • Better traffic flow, site planning
  • Bullet proof door
  • Crisis response team for every school
  • People have designated duty in a crises
  • A way for community to report concerns
  • Increase in team effort between parents/teachers (1)
  • Ease of partnerships w/businesses-less red tape to get civic groups into schools (1)
  • More partnerships with school business
  • Have someone from Mental Health come to the school to address issues
  • More police programs-Partnership with retired officers, resources
  • Provide SRO contact information to parents
  • Relationship between teacher/student regarding bullying (3)
  • More Dean of Students (2)
  • More communication directly to parents and education (Shout out to Tucker HS) (2)
  • Add “Silent Hurts” as an app (1)
  • Silent Hurts-is it effective, does it get checked, need more info about it.
  • Way for students to report concerns anonymously
  • Parent workshops
  • Are we teaching social media responsibility
  • Schools need to be updated to have a vestibule (4)
  • ID checked outside of the building (3)
  • No cell phones (3)
  • Support for school sec.
  • Security support (2)
  • Ensure audit concerns are being met-make sure students are aware not to let people in, make safety protocols more fluid, don’t advertise all of safety protocols
  • Multiple ways to share emergency information to parents
  • Increase number of school counselors, social workers, psychologist (11)
  • More follow-up proactive for students w/concerning behavior (5)
  • Revisit “Zero Tolerance” policy for student who is defending himself-more investigations (2)
  • Teachers need to be trained in trauma (1)
  • Training also to catch triggers
  • Not allowing student to attend school who refuse to take medication
  • Increase parental involvement
  • More behavioral health/counselors in general
  • Social/emotional support for teachers

Group 6

Building Security Relationships Social & Emotional
Student Support
Safety Protocols Partnerships
  • Additional SROs, more assigned to schools; possibly 1 per school, present every day (7)
  • Door stop for each door in “Go Kit” also metal detectors and mirrors at corners (5)
  • Equitable, consistent practices (4)
  • Perimeter gating, protocols for access control, esp. campus style. Playground gates/fencing (4)
  • Alert school before arrival (2)
  • Get rid of trailers
  • Add more school counselors (5)
  • Consistency with bullying training from SROs.
  • Less burden on bullying victim, try to separate bully from victim (1)
  • Student Ambassador/Safety Ambassadors (1)
  • Continue/expand DOGS program-advertise/equitable
  • Security vs. fear-Tipping point
  • Age appropriate information
  • Good, current communication utilizing social media, define “credible”, possible outcome could deter others
  • Address bullying more on high school level
  • More counselors 1:250 (6)
  • Consistent trauma-informed practices, staff development (4)
  • More Mental Health services (3)
  • Student Ambassadors-Leaders, speak language of students, meet them where they are (2)
  • Equity and diversity (2)
  • Support for teachers dealing with troubled students (1)
  • Peer Helper programs back (1)
  • Incorporate social programs in classroom (1)
  • Counseling for all after a difficult/traumatic event, possible discussions county wide (1)
  • Take away conflict resolution and increase restorative practices
  • Inform parents ASAP about bullying
  • Fire Drills-fake pulls, have process evolved, examine drill practices, teacher training on authenticity of drills (3)
  • Need to be written in several languages (1)
  • Police officer at school when the day begins (1)
  • Teachers convey procedures to students regarding lockdowns during 1st week (1)
  • Let elementary parents know what teachers have conveyed to their students
  • Classroom procedures for when students leave class and follow up
  • Equity regarding ALL bullies
  • Train teachers to use pepper spray or tasers (4)
  • Increase corporate involvement –Henrico Heros (4)
  • Increased parental involvement-Family engagement/PTSA (1)
  • Parent speakers to share experiences, stories students can relate to
  • Get adults in community to support students, Business Partners, employees can mentor
  • Increase communities in schools
  • Parents work w/police and become armed to help at schools
  • Partner w/HCPS Human Resources so substitutes get training on safety protocols
  • Visible Administration-viewed as a partner

Group 7

Building Security Relationships Social & Emotional
Student Support
Safety Protocols Partnerships
  • How to keep guns/weapons out of building-specifically if student (5)
  • Door being held open for visitors who haven’t been vetted (4)
  • ID shown before entering the building (4)
  • Shared SROs-SROs available at all schools to build partnerships (3)
  • Concern of students knowing where to go in emergency on campus-style schools (2)
  • Person identified as potential threat (2)
  • Different security measure available to parents to view (benchmark study of 72 schools) (2)
  • Use of metal detectors (2)
  • Supervision once visitors enter building to ensure supervised (1)
  • Security of learning cottages
  • Security/supervision for after-school activities
  • Gun safety in the home discussions-school facilitated (2)
  • Bullying on school buses-appeal process? (2)
  • Student providing information regarding safety issues/concerns –ways to do so
  • Education regarding social media usage
  • Additional counselors at schools (elementary) (11)
  • More overall support in schools-staff (2)
  • Reporting to mental health when threat of suicide/harm to others (1)
  • Empowering students to speak to an adult regarding a threat (1)
  • Providing training to staff in Trauma Informed Care (1)
  • Student led conflict resolution
  • Providing cognitive development info to parents
  • Different scenarios for drills-during lunch, transition (1)
  • Special procedures for students w/special needs, specifically autism (1)
  • Vestibule/access control (1)
  • Welcoming environment v. secure building (finding balance) (1)
  • Determine drill/actual threat
  • Communication to staff of emergency
  • Experts consulted w/regarding emergency training drills for students w/special needs
  • Physical search of visitors before coming in the building
  • Bullet proof window
  • Arming of teachers/staff not supported (8)
  • SSO/SRO in elementary schools (2)
  • Low cost/free mental health services for families (2)
  • Parents-partnership w/school starting @elementary and going through high school –best way to distribute information to other parents(2)
  • Use of veterans for school security/volunteers with police dept. (1)
  • SRO position in schools-visible near main office (1)
  • Terrorist threat