Safety Plan Shared With Families

Safety Plan Shared With Families
Posted on 12/17/2021

Dear Royal Oak Schools Families,

In our efforts to increase awareness of our school safety plans, we have compiled some additional information for you regarding the overall safety measures in place at our schools, as well as some examples of how our safety drills are conducted. The attached document is meant to supplement information we have previously provided from both a school and district level, and answer some of the most common questions which we are receiving.

As with any disaster that might occur in a school or public space, we take time to assess our own protocols and procedures. Many have asked about additional hardware that is being considered for our schools. Any new items or change in procedures will be handled by the district as we consider the existing safety measures already in place, associated costs, while consulting with experts on what is needed.

The district has been actively reviewing and updating our safety plans to ensure that they are as comprehensive as possible. Officer Joe Yerke and the Royal Oak Police Department have been very helpful in this endeavor. Our schoolwide training last week was very beneficial to our staff who were able to hear directly from Officer Yerke and then spent time in their schools with their building safety plans.

"The preparedness training that all educators, school staff, and students continue to receive is an action plan for success." - Officer Joe Yerke, School Liaison Officer

We also appreciate the continued collaboration with the Royal Oak Police Department as they work to keep us safe in the community.

"The police department continues to work collaboratively with the school district to improve upon our joint readiness. All our police officers attend multiagency, county-wide training specifically geared toward active shooter incidents. We stand prepared to immediately respond to incidents at our schools and utilize the Incident Command System to provide a unified response with our partners at the Royal Oak Fire Department and other local law enforcement agencies." - Interim Chief Michael Moore

The recent activity on social media is another troubling example of peer pressure being placed on our young people. It is essential that parents talk with their children about responsible use of online platforms, and we will do the same in the schools. We are working on a presentation for parents by experts who can provide advice on this important topic.

Wishing you and your family a peaceful and enjoyable holiday.

Mary Beth Fitzpatrick


ROS Logo

Social and Emotional Support of Students and Staff:

This support is more important than ever. We thank our Royal Oak Schools team of social workers and psychologists for their continued commitment to the well-being of our staff and students. This is just a short list of the assistance they provide:

  • Pushing into classrooms to provide support.
  • Meeting individually with students and staff members.
  • Leading restorative circles.
  • Sharing resources with staff members and families.
  • Facilitating small group and whole class discussions.
  • Open office hours to support both students and staff members.
  • Offering teachers coverage if they need a break to decompress.
  • Providing social-emotional lessons within the classroom.
  • Supporting teachers on how to approach conversations surrounding the event that are age appropriate.
  • Sharing resources for outside support.
  • Facilitating discussions around self-care and coping strategies.

Royal Oak Schools District Safety Measures in Place:

  • All staff, regardless of their role, need to be diligent when following safety protocols, and be keenly aware of their surroundings. All students and staff should immediately inform their administrators of something they see or hear.
  • If there is a sense that something is not right, all staff are trained to call 911 themselves in an emergency; all rooms/offices have desk phones for this use. Staff members do not wait to get permission to call 911 in an emergency.
  • Every school has an Emergency Operations Plan containing maps, contacts/phone numbers, and procedures for different types of emergencies.
  • Each school was designed to have one central point of visitor entry when school is in session. During the school day, students and staff should not make exceptions by allowing others to enter through other doors or prop open doors for any reason.
  • Adult supervision and presence in the hallways during passing time, entry and dismissal is required.
  • Most doors have an easy locking mechanism from the inside (keyless); protocol is to keep all key-lock doors in the locked position.
  • Security cameras exist inside and outside of all buildings; cameras are available to the police department to access in the event an emergency is called.
  • PA systems are utilized to make announcements and give instructions to all staff and students.
  • A Building Lockdown System is in place which prevents entry into our building at card-swiped doors during an emergency.
  • Response time by ROPD and other local law enforcement agencies to any one of our schools is, on average, 2 minutes or less.
  • Each situation is different, and not all emergency situations will occur when students are in the classrooms learning. Special consideration is given for outdoor recess, gyms, cafeterias or special events such as plays/concerts or sporting events. Adults who supervise these areas provide the guidance for each location depending upon the emergency at hand.
  • During an emergency, parents should not come to the school to pick up their children until told to do so. In some cases, it is safer for parents to pick up at an off-campus reunification location. Parents will be notified with specific instructions about where and when it is safe to pick up their children. Those messages may come from the district or the police department.

Drills and Procedures:

We engage in regular, required safety drills in all schools and buildings. Per year, at a minimum, these include:

  • 5 Evacuation/Fire Drills
  • 3 Emergency/Lockdown Drills
  • 2 Tornado Drills

There are three types of security modes used in our schools. Each of these has a specific use, requiring different responses by staff and students. This exact terminology is used in all schools and with our police department. Students should be well informed of each type of emergency.

  • Secure Mode
    • Classroom and perimeter doors are locked, hallways are empty, AND our regular classroom routines continue.
    • Reason: Non-school-related police issue in neighborhood or issue on the property that is being addressed.
  • Medical Secure Mode
    • Classroom doors are locked, hallways are empty, AND our regular classroom routines continue.
    • Reason: Medical or mental health issue that requires response to protect the privacy and safety of the individual.
  • Lockdown
    • Lock classroom doors, barricade doors, move to safe location in classroom, remain silent, follow adult's directions
    • REASON: Threat within the building.
    • Depending upon the type of threat, RUN, HIDE, FIGHT principles would need to be utilized.

Sample Elementary Lockdown Language Scripts

The following notes are used to assist staff during drills and when talking with elementary students during an emergency. It is essential that young children know the adults are there to keep them safe and their job is to listen to instructions.

Prekindergarten-First grade Social Story This is a link to a document that our staff members use with very young children as a way to talk about safety drills in an age-appropriate manner.

Lockdown Language Pre-K-3rd Grade:

Teacher: Remember how we discussed the importance of safety drills? To refresh our memories, why do we practice drills?

Possible student responses: So that we know what to do; So that we get better at them.

Teacher: Exactly - and what are my expectations when we practice drills?

Possible student responses: Be quiet, listen, follow directions (examples that NEED to be pointed out: listen, follow directions, voices off, pay attention).

Teacher: Today we are going to talk about lockdown. What does lockdown mean?

Possible student responses: When we have to lock our doors to keep safe.

Teacher: When we have to keep a dangerous situation out of our building or out of our classroom, we say that we are going to "Lockdown." In other words, we are going to Lock-Out the danger. There will be an announcement on the intercom telling us to "Lockdown." I will have you move from your desks to a safe spot in the room, while I go to the door, close it and make sure it is locked. I may also block (barricade) the door with furniture to make it harder to get in. I will also turn off the lights. Remember, it is very important that you be quiet, listen and follow my directions. I may ask some of you to help turn off the lights. We will stay very quiet until an adult unlocks the door. Now let's practice. (Pretend there is a lockdown announcement and practice).

Teacher: Very Good. That is what we will do if we are going to Lock-Out the danger. But, sometimes it may be safer for us to get out and leave, instead of staying in our classroom. If we are in our classroom and I decide that it is not safe for us to stay here, then I will tell you how we are going to get out of the room and where we are going to go. We may go to another room, or we may leave the building and go somewhere away from the building. Again, if we decide to Get-Out, I will need you to listen to my instructions and do exactly as I say. It will be important for everyone to stay together and to be very quiet. Now let's practice Get-Out.

Teacher: Remember adults keep you safe at school. Each of these situations are extremely unlikely, but just like fire drills and tornado drills, we want you to feel prepared and safe.

Lockdown Language 4th-5th Grade:

Teacher: Remember how we discussed the importance of safety drills? To refresh our memories, why do we practice drills?

Possible student responses: We need to know what to do in different emergency situations. We practice so we feel more prepared.

Teacher: Exactly - and what are my expectations when we practice drills?

Possible student responses: Be quiet, listen, follow directions (examples that NEED to be pointed out: listen, follow directions, voices off, pay attention).

Teacher: Today we are going to talk about lockdown. What does lockdown mean?

Possible student responses: There is a situation inside or outside of the building that requires us to stay behind lock doors.

Teacher: During Secure Mode, if the situation is outside the building, the principal will lock the exterior doors, and will tell us about the problem. We will not be allowed to go outside the building until we are told that it is safe again. We will continue to have school inside the building just like before. During a Secure Mode when the situation is inside the building the principal will tell us to stay in our classrooms and will have the teachers shut and lock the classroom doors. If you are not in your classroom (restroom or library, etc.) you will be told to return to your classroom. We will continue to have class, but will not be able to leave the classroom until the principal says it is safe to do so.

Teacher: Let's spend a few minutes talking about a lockdown. We may have to go into a lockdown because there is someone in our building that does not belong here. We call that person an intruder. Just like fires, and tornadoes, it is extremely unlikely that an intruder will come to our school, but we do want you to feel prepared, so let's talk about what to do.

Teacher: Trust yourself and trust your gut. If you get that uncomfortable feeling that something doesn't seem right, please tell an adult right away. Let's talk about the best way to let an adult know about an intruder. First of all, is it okay to interrupt an adult to let them know this information? (YES) What do you think you could say? (THERE IS AN INTRUDER IN THE HALLWAY) How do you think you should say it? (CLEAR, FIRM, SERIOUS VOICE)

Teacher: Whenever we are required to go into lockdown because of a dangerous intruder, either I will tell you, or you will hear an announcement on the intercom telling teachers to LOCKDOWN. Be calm and quiet, and listen for my instructions.

Teacher: Let's say, when the lockdown announcement is made, I feel that the safest thing for us to do is run, then you will listen to my directions of where to go and what to do. If I feel the safest thing for us to do is to hide from the intruder, what can we do to make it harder for that person to get into our room?

Possible student responses: Put things in front of the door.

Teacher: Exactly- that is what we call "barricading" the door. Based on the information I have for the situation, if I feel it's safest for us to stay in our classroom and block the door, then that is what we would do. I will need you to listen to my instructions and do exactly as I say. I will have some of you help barricade the door, and others to turn off the lights. Then we will gather away from the door and remain very quiet. Discuss Run, Hide, Fight. What would we do if we were not in our classroom and we were in the cafeteria, library or hallway when the intruder comes in?

Possible student responses: Run, hide, fight. Listen to the adult.

Teacher: If you are by yourself when the announcement is made to go into lockdown, go to the closest room and stay with that adult. Always listen for directions from the adult.

Teacher: Now let's talk about fight. In the extremely unlikely event an intruder got into our classroom and we could not run away, we would need to protect ourselves. The best way to do that would be to distract the intruder so that we could get away. We could do that by throwing things at the intruder. Just like with run and hide, I will need you to listen to my instructions and do exactly as I tell you. Again, I want to remind all of you that each of these situations are extremely unlikely, but just like fire drills and tornado drills, we want you to feel prepared and safe.

Secondary Lockdown Drill Preparation Guidance

During drills, staff review these main points with students. Time is allotted for students to ask questions.

Adults must model a controlled response during drills and in an emergency, remaining calm while sharing, discussing, and answering questions. Students hear the following information from their teachers during drills:

  • Our buildings are safe places.
  • Adults are here to keep you safe and keep you feeling safe
  • Our Royal Oak Police Department is always ready to help us whenever we need it.
  • Students must remain silent while following adult directions.
  • Drills are used every year in order to practice safety
    • Fire drills
    • Tornado drills
    • Lockdowns
  • Students learn the three different types of secure modes used in our schools:
    • Secure Mode
    • Medical Secure Mode
    • Lockdown
  • A Lockdown takes place when there is a threat - or perceived threat - in or very near our building when it will be safer for us to stay in a secured room.
  • There may come a time during a Lockdown when I give you specific directions. For example, I may ask you to help me barricade - or block - the door with desks and chairs to make sure a potential threat cannot enter our classroom. (Show students what items may be used to barricade the door and where to go in the room.)
  • During a Lockdown, it is extremely important to remain silent and listen to all of my directions.
  • There could come a time during a Lockdown when we need to evacuate immediately. I would give you an order, such as "Get out of the building now. Leave your things." I would direct you how to exit the building.
  • There could come a time during a Lockdown when the fire alarm goes off. During a Lockdown, we will ignore the fire alarm. You will remain silent and listen to my directions.
  • There could be a time that you are in the hallway or using a restroom when a Lockdown starts. If that happens, go immediately to the nearest classroom. Teachers will be in hallways to direct you into their classrooms. Adults may or may not be one of your own teachers. Follow adult directions immediately.
  • There could come a time that you arrive at school while we are in a Lockdown and you are locked out of the building. In that case, get a safe distance away from the school. That could mean going home, to a nearby business, or any safe place where you can contact the school, the district office, or a parent. The most important idea is to get away from the school.
  • The safest place for us to be during a Lockdown is in this classroom with our door locked. If that is ever not the case, I will tell you. No individual is ever permitted to exit the classroom during a Lockdown.
  • The Lockdown drill is over when police or administration open our door with a key. In a true emergency, that would also happen; police or administrators would come and open our doors.