Safety and security

Working to keep schools safe

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Student and staff member safety is essential. That’s why the district works hard to make our schools into secure places where teaching and learning can flourish.

Creating safe environments is a complex effort that includes:

  • District resource officers and school resource officers
  • Security cameras
  • Controlled access to building and/or entrance monitoring
  • Staff training and drills
  • Changing school cultures

The district also is a member of the Clark County Safe Schools Task Force, a regional group that collaborates to improve school safety. It’s just one more way that we work to protect Vancouver Public Schools.

Frequently asked questions

District resource officers, or DROs, replaced VPS’ security monitor positions in 2008. Today, they serve as proactive, uniformed presences in schools, at district athletic events and at community functions on school properties. They strive to have positive interactions with their school communities. Many have received Employee Excellence Awards, the district’s honor for outstanding staff members.

DROs receive extensive, ongoing training, including training from local law enforcement and fire agencies. As a result, they are equipped to help staff members learn how to recognize and respond to a variety of issues.

School resource officers, or SROs, are employed through the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Vancouver Police Department. Like DROs, SROs work to have positive effects on school communities and heighten the sense of safety. They also support the reduction of juvenile crime and delinquency on campuses and near schools.

When necessary, DROs can de-escalate situations or intervene until the police arrive, in rare incidents that warrant police involvement.

While they do not carry firearms or deadly force equipment, they are trained in the use of Tasers, pepper spray and handcuffs, in case these tools are necessary to control a situation and ensure safety.

Elementary and middle schools have electronic locks. During the school day, visitors must be buzzed in by office staff.

High schools have security kiosks staffed by DROs.

All visitors to VPS schools must sign in at the front office before entering other parts of the building.

Occasionally, our schools go into lockdown. Lockdowns are performed for the safety of students and staff members. Exterior doors are locked and no one is allowed to enter or leave a building for the duration of the lockdown.

Typically schools are put into lockdown by law enforcement as a precaution because of activity in the surrounding area that is unrelated to the school. Lockdowns often occur with little or no advance notice and are lifted within minutes. Most of the time, classes continue as usual. In these cases, the district does not notify parents and guardians.

But parents and guardians also should be prepared for the possibility of a prolonged lockdown. We know that everyone wants the most immediate updates and information both during and after this kind of situation. However, driving to the school or calling the office during a lockdown can tie up staff resources and seriously impede the work of law enforcement and district security personnel.

School leaders, local law enforcement and school-safety experts have worked together to establish guidelines that balance safety with communication. During a lockdown, only limited information will be released, via one or more of the above communication methods, at the discretion of law enforcement and district administrators, for the safety of students, staff members and first responders. As incidents unfold, often it is difficult to verify details and facts may be delayed. News sources may speculate or report hearsay, but we will work to provide accurate information.

Yes. Night patrols monitor all schools 365 days per year.
School grounds are closed to the public from dusk to dawn, except during authorized school functions.
For student and staff member safety, public use is limited during the school day. Please check with the school’s office regarding availability.
If something doesn’t look right, report it immediately to the school office staff.

If you are in imminent danger and/or need an immediate fire, police or ambulance response, call 911.

Thank you for your interest in joining the VPS DRO team. Please review safety openings and apply online. If you have questions about an opening, contact the safety and security office.
  • Keep your emergency contact information up to date with your child’s school.
  • Report safety concerns and also encourage your child to report them.
  • Sign in at the main office during school hours and wear a visitors’ badge.

Safety and security

Albert AlcantarDirector of athletics and security
Position openSecurity supervisor

360-313-1044

vsd_safetyoffice@vansd.org

Mon.–Thurs. 7–5
Fri. 7–4 | Closed Sat./Sun.

If you have school-specific questions about safety, please contact the appropriate principal.

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