Commitment to safety
At Norman Public Schools, student safety is always a top priority. Teachers, administrators and staff are committed to creating and maintaining a safe learning environment for all students. The district currently has the following measures in place to protect students and staff:
See something? Hear Something? Say Something!
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. The public can help keep schools safe by reporting any suspicious or unusual activity. If your child is concerned about something they saw or heard at school, help them report information. Reinforce the “see something, say something” approach. **Immediately call Norman Crimestoppers at 405-366-STOP or submit a tip online at www.p3tips.com/1323 and contact the school principal to anonymously report abuse, bullying, drugs, guns, suicide risks, threats and more. Also, download the free P3 Tips app on your Apple or Android device. Click here to learn more about See Something. Say Something. Victims of gender discrimination or sexual misconduct are encouraged to file a TITLE IX report. Call (405) 447-6599 to report an incident. If you suspect that a child has been abused or neglected, call the Oklahoma Department of Human Services at 1-800-522-3511.
School Resource Officers
Norman Public Schools is fortunate to have a strong partnership with the Norman Police Department. This partnership has provided specially trained police officers, known as School Resource Officers, to be active and visible in our schools. Having these officers in our schools is an invaluable asset in the event of an emergency and also serves as a great deterrent for those that might have nefarious intentions. In addition to keeping students safe, they also serve as mentors and support for students. We know how important it is for students to have access to trusted adults and our SROs are another great resource for kids. We're also pleased that this year we will have additional coverage for the NPD officers at our schools, particularly our elementaries. We also want to thank the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office, which provides the SRO who works at Dimensions Academy. We're very grateful for our continued partnership with NPD, the Sherrif's Office and the City of Norman and their commitment to helping us keep our schools safe.
All schools in the district are equipped with secure vestibules, which provide additional protection for students by guiding guests to a single, secured entrance that leads directly to the main office while school is in session. Upon entrance, all visitors are required to show identification and sign in using a kiosk designed to enhance student safety. School staff, who wear identification badges, greet students at entrance points and keep a watchful eye on students as they enter the buildings. We continue to train and emphasize with staff the importance of keeping all doors locked and secure during the school day to ensure all visitors must enter through our secure vestibules.
Thanks to the 2019 School Bond, which the Norman community passed by a vote of nearly 80 percent, every school in our district will be equipped with a storm shelter capable of housing its entire school population. We are incredibly grateful for the community support that has allowed us to make this vital investment.
Rave Panic Button:
The Norman Public School District was the first in Oklahoma to implement the Rave Panic Button, which is a mobile app that significantly reduces response times in emergencies when every second counts. The app allows district and school employees to notify 911 centers, emergency responders and on-site personnel at the push of a button. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister called Norman Public Schools "trailblazers" in the effort and has encouraged all school districts to follow.
Emergency Preparedness Plans:
Emergency preparedness plans are in place for every school site. They are regularly reviewed to ensure emerging school security issues are adequately covered. The district works closely with emergency response agencies and local weather partners to ensure safety and security plans reflect best practices.
All schools participate safety drills to ensure students, teachers and staff know how to best respond if the unthinkable occurs. As part of state law, all schools participate in a minimum of 10 drills each year that focus on safety and security when faced with threats such as intruders, fires and tornados. The district is also working closely with the Norman Police Department to enhance our active aggressor training and procedures in this area.
An important aspect of student wellbeing is mental and emotional health. Our school counselors serve multiple roles in protecting that wellbeing. Counselors are available to help students who are dealing with trauma or may have anxiety about the events they see on the news. In addition, the district has a team of counselors who are specifically trained to identify and work with the youth who display concerning behavior. We have also built strategic partnerships in the community, which allow our counselors to connect troubled youth with mental health support services. Additionally, district policies are designed to allow outside counselors to provide on-site services when appropriate, which reduces barriers and increases student access to these critical services.
Many of our school professionals participate in trauma and resilience training, as well as suicide prevention training. Trauma can occur as a result of violence, abuse, neglect, loss, and other emotionally harmful experiences. Resilience refers to the ability for individuals to cope with adversity and adapt to overcome challenges. Trauma teams at each school are equipped to support students who may experience behavioral issues, suicidal thoughts or violent tendencies as a result of past trauma.
Our NPS Transportation team became the first public school district in the nation to earn the Gold Standard Award from the TSA. The Gold Standard Award is the highest level of recognition TSA can give to a transit agency for achieving top scores during an annual review of 17 categories of security and emergency preparedness elements. The review evaluates several aspects of a transit agency’s operations, including its security plan, security training, drills and exercise programs, public outreach efforts, and background check procedures. We are extremely proud of our Transportation team for their work over the past four years to achieve this standard and for all they do to ensure our buses are safe for students.
As we enter a new school year, COVID-19 protocols will be the same as they were at the end of last year. This includes sanitization protocols and the use of air purifying systems in classrooms and cafeterias. Masks will be available upon request at schools, and free COVID testing will be offered both at the main NPS Health Services office and at each school site. There will also be free at-home tests available that parents can pick up at Back to School Nights, Open Houses, and the enrollment centers.
Kids Virtual Care:
In partnership with Norman Regional Health System, Norman Public Schools will be offering Kids Virtual Care at every school. Norman Regional Kids Virtual Care allows your student to have a virtual visit with a local pediatrician or licensed provider with the school's health professional so your student can stay at school and be seen and diagnosed quickly. If a prescription is needed, the provider will send the prescription to an identified pharmacy of your choice. Insurance is filed for each visit and will cost the same as your normal copay for a Primary Care visit. There is a cash pay price of $60 per visit for children without insurance and a scholarship program is available for eligible students.
Many schools across the district participate in the Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program, which promotes student engagement with father figures in schools. The program provides positive male role models for students, who volunteer to mentor students, enhance school security and reduce bullying. The national program is made possible through a partnership with the National Center for Fathering. The volunteer program is open to fathers, grandfathers, and other father figures.
Talk to your children:
While we strive to do everything we can to keep our schools safe, school safety is everyone's responsibility. When tragic events occur, parents can help children deal with anxiety by establishing a sense of security through routine and reassurances that they are safe. Schools are among the safest public buildings and our teachers, administrators and staff work diligently to protect students. If a student sees or hears anything concerning, encourage them to immediately tell a trusted adult. The National Association of School Psychologists offers helpful tips for talking to children about violence. There is also guidance for talking to children about traumatic events as well as tips for gun safety. Additionally, the Norman Police Department provides free gun locks on request. You can help keep schools and children safe by practicing responsible gun ownership, including keeping guns stored, locked and in places where they are inaccessible by children and youth.
While even the most extensive planning cannot always prevent acts of violence, we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure we are exhaustive in our efforts to protect our students.
We know that clear, accurate and timely communication is vital for parents to feel confident that their children are safe at school. When an issue concerning student safety arises at school, the principal and or district administrators will communicate directly with parents via email, text and/or mobile app update. If an issue involves an entire school or schools, you will receive messages from the district. In any instance that involves your student directly, you can expect to be contacted via phone by school administration.
Please make sure your contact information is always up-to-date in the Parent Portal.
Email: The district and/or school sites typically send notifications via email to parents of students at the impacted school(s).
Text: In the event of a time sensitive matter, the district and/or school sites may send text messages to parents of students at the impacted school(s).
Mobile App: In many cases, a push notification in the Norman Public School District’s mobile app will be sent to impacted families.
Phone: In addition to an email, families may receive an automated voice call when it is critical for them to be notified right away. Robocalls are generally reserved for inclement weather announcements, school closures, or potential threats that have not been resolved.
Website: The NPS website is updated with an alert on the home page if the announcement is relevant to all (or a large majority) of students. These alerts are typically weather related.
Safety Tip Line
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. See something? Hear something? SAY SOMETHING! Call Norman Crimestoppers at 405-366-STOP or submit a tip online at www.p3tips.com/1323 to anonymously report abuse, bullying, drugs, guns, suicide risks, threats and more. Also, download the free P3 Tips app on your Apple or Android device. Download a flyer here.
Victim Help Line
Victims of gender discrimination or sexual misconduct are encouraged to file a TITLE IX report. Call (405) 447-6599 or report an incident or concern online.
Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
If you suspect that a child has been abused or neglected, call the Oklahoma Department of Human Services at 1-800-522-3511.
We understand notifications about threats to student safety can be unsettling. After all, we are parents, too. Our goal is to provide families with as much information as possible when there is a potential threat to school safety. As is often the case, details surrounding incidents cannot always be shared due to ongoing investigations or privacy laws. However, understanding communication terms and distribution methods can provide additional information.
The Norman Public School District and the Norman Police Department follow a Standard Response Protocol, which is based on the response to any given situation. Similar to an Incident Command System, the protocol demands a specific vocabulary but also allows for great flexibility. The premise is simple - there are four specific actions that can be performed during an incident, which are outlined below.
Lockout: This is due to a possible threat OUTSIDE the school, which generally means there is police activity in the area or a nearby neighborhood. During a lockout, it is business as usual inside the buildings. Students who are outside are brought inside as a precaution, and all doors are secured.
Lockdown: This is due to a possible threat INSIDE the school. When a school is in a lockdown, individuals are not allowed to enter or exit the building until law enforcement officials have cleared the threat. Inside, students follow lockdown safety protocols.
Shelter: Students and staff shelter in predetermined locations when a hazard is present. This is most often due to inclement weather scenarios.
Evacuate: Evacuations of students and staff are most often due to fire alarms.
Increased Police Presence: Generally, police presence will be increased in the area as a precaution. This does not necessarily mean that a threat remains. Rather, increased police presence signifies that law enforcement officials continue to go above and beyond after a threat to protect students. Please keep in mind that officers are not always in uniform.