Safety and Security

Keeping schools safe

We work hard to maintain the security of our schools so that teaching and learning can flourish.

Creating safe environments is a complex effort that includes:

  • District resource officers
  • Security cameras
  • Controlled access to building and/or entrance monitoring
  • Visitor management system
  • Staff training and drills
  • Positive 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 the people of Vancouver Public Schools.

Watch our safety procedures video

Safety updates

  • VPS News

Safety incident responses and communications

We take all medical and safety concerns very seriously and we think it’s important to have conversations about safety with our students, staff, and community.  Please see this information about what we do in the event of an emergency.  

Education ombuds

If you have concerns about your child’s experience within the discipline process, please reach out to VPS’ education ombuds for help navigating the district’s processes and procedures.

Frequently asked questions

District resource officers, or DROs, are 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.

A 26-member team of district resource officers covers our 36 school sites. Most DROs are assigned to specific school locations. A mobile support team also is available as needed. All of our school sites have coverage through either part-time or full-time DRO staff. For safety reasons, we do not disclose the number of security staff onsite at any given time.

The school resource officer program was discontinued in 2020 because all students were learning remotely at the start of the pandemic. When schools remained in remote and hybrid learning throughout the 2020-21 school year, SRO assignments weren’t required. Due to the impact of the pandemic and increased staffing needs at Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Vancouver Police Department, contract agreements for SROs weren’t renewed for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years. We have been talking with both law enforcement agencies about how to engage the community in discussion about school and community safety moving forward.

No armed security personnel are employed in VPS schools at this time. District resource officers have tools and training that enable them to respond in emergency situations.

All of our schools have a controlled main entrance that includes video security systems. Many of these entrances channel guests through the main office, where they must sign into our visitor management system. High schools have a district resource officer stationed at the front entrance to greet guests. All elementary and middle schools have a secure entry that requires visitors to buzz in for entry. All exterior doors remain locked at all of our schools except at our four comprehensive high schools (Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay and Skyview), where a DRO at a kiosk monitors the main entry.

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.

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 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. We will always work to provide accurate information.

Yes. Night patrols monitor schools all year.

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.

You also can send an email to the district’s safety office or call 360-313-1044.

  • 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 visitor badge.
days per year that school grounds are monitored