That priority includes careful planning, practiced safety protocols, and dedicated security equipment to ensure students and staff know how to stay safe against emergency situations
In light of the tragic recent events in Uvalde, Texas, many families may feel anxiety regarding sending their children to school. No parent should fear for their child’s safety at school, a place that should provide a safe and happy environment for students to learn, grow, discover, and develop without fear of disaster or tragedy.
The staff of Woodland Public Schools knows such an atmosphere can only be possible with careful planning, practiced safety protocols, and dedicated security equipment to ensure students and staff know how to stay safe against emergency situations.
Locked entrances prevent unauthorized access
At Woodland Public Schools, the exterior entrances for all most district buildings remain locked during the school except one, singular entrances to each building leading to the main office. The only exceptions are TEAM Alternative High School, Lewis River Academy, and Yale School, all of which offer no immediate access for visitors; all visitors must first ring a doorbell which allows school staff to confirm the visitor’s identity prior to allowing access to enter the facility.
During the day, students and staff may exit school buildings from any door as building doors are locked against outside entry only to prevent immediate exit in the event of fire or other interior issue. However, no one can enter a school building without first checking in at the main office. “By requiring all visitors and late students to enter through the main office, we ensure school personnel know exactly who is on campus at all times,” said Michael Green, Superintendent of Woodland Public Schools. “Student and staff safety and security is the top priority of Woodland Public Schools with our security measures helping ensure our schools are as safe as possible.”
Security cameras provide staff a first alert
Additionally, all building exteriors are monitored by security cameras which alert office personnel whenever a visitor has arrived on campus. School staff know well in advance when any visitor is about to enter the main office. At Woodland High School alone, there are more than 100 security cameras monitoring all activity on school grounds to help ensure safety. Additionally, Woodland Police have remote access to these school district cameras and can monitor them in the event of an emergency.
Main offices can be locked down to prevent further intrusion
Even if an unauthorized intruder should enter a main office, staff can remotely lock all entrances from the office into the rest of the building, preventing the intruder from gaining further access, effectively compartmentalizing the intruder in a single room. Within each school, every classroom door can be locked by teachers from inside, and each classroom is equipped with window coverings to prevent anyone in hallways from seeing whether a classroom is occupied or not.
The key to safety protocols is practice, practice, practice
Naturally, the best security protocols can be rendered ineffective if no one knows what to do in the event of an emergency. This is why every school building holds a variety of frequent safety drills so students and staff know exactly what to do for any disaster, not only during potential intrusions, but also in the event of fire, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, and more.
Improvement through collaboration
However, even with detailed and strictly enforced security measures in place, district staff and administrators regularly review and improve on safety practices. The district works closely with local and state emergency personnel including law enforcement, first responders, and firefighters. The Woodland Police Department takes part in frequent drills to test response time and to offer feedback on how particular security measures work and may be improved.
“We do not take school safety lightly – it is a top priority,” said Green. “We continually evaluate our practices and improve them, so our schools remain happy and safe places of learning for students and staff alike.”
Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting the dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd
Information provided by Woodland School District.
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