Lee’s Summit R-7 continues to enhance safety
Lee’s Summit R-7 schools are continuing to enhance and improve safety and security measures and procedures. During spring 2015, R-7 voters approved a no-tax-increase bond issue including several items that are enhancing safety and security. These improvements are designed to ensure a safe learning environment for all students, which is a top priority within Lee’s Summit R-7.
Many enhancements in playground safety will be seen during the summer of 2015 and continuing through summer of 2016. Lee’s Summit R-7 is evaluating each playground to determine a plan of action to remove and replace any outdated equipment before installing a new artificial grass safety turf at all Lee’s Summit R-7 playgrounds. The safety turf will replace wood and rubber mulch currently used to provide a uniform, clean and easily maintainable surface for children to play.
Additional safety measures are being researched to include an in-slab heating solution for sidewalks at high traffic areas. This potential solution is being piloted a couple of areas throughout the district to determine its effectiveness at eliminating ice accumulation and refreezing.
The upgrades continue the district’s ongoing emphasis on school safety. Throughout the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, school employees constantly emphasize emergency and safety measures, including procedures and preparations. The R-7 Emergency Operations Team meets on a regular basis to address safety and security upgrades and to review the district’s comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan. This plan focuses on prevention, preparedness, emergency response and recovery.
All Lee’s Summit R-7 staff receive frequent training over these procedures, which cover everything from tornadoes to a crime in progress to a hazardous materials spill. Students and staff members also conduct regular drills on a variety of safety procedures, including natural disasters, fires and those related to intruders at schools. In addition, safety and security audits are conducted at R-7 schools throughout the year to ensure safe learning environments using consensus standards and best practices.
Several years ago, the R-7 School District implemented the use of staff identification badges, including photographs, for employees. Each R-7 middle school and high school has a full-time resource officer. These specially trained officers from the Lee’s Summit Police Department assist with crime prevention at schools and are available to react quickly when a police officer is needed on the school premises.
School resource officers have been instrumental in implementing a Lee’s Summit Schools Campus Crime Stoppers Tips Line. This phone number – (816) 986-1450 – offers callers the opportunity to anonymously leave a recorded phone message reporting crimes such as thefts, vandalism, harassment, bullying, assault, drugs and weapons violations that occur on school property. The tips line was initiated with the help of a grant and has proved successful in resolving several incidents.
All elementary and middle schools also offer DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) training, and DARE police officers operate out of the elementary schools on a part-time basis.
In addition to training to prepare for school emergencies, district employees are trained to identify students exhibiting unhealthy behaviors. These students are identified and offered appropriate interventions through a team effort at the schools. As well as training at the district level, a number of R-7 staff members have participated in regional, state and national conferences focusing on school and youth safety and crisis planning.