Keeping students and staff safe in our schools is a top priority at the Bellevue School District. And to achieve this, we know that safety is everyone’s job. Leading this charge is the BSD Safety and Security Department, whose mission is to establish a culture of safety and security that provides for a safe learning environment through preparedness and awareness so that all students can acquire/achieve an exemplary education and succeed in college, career and life. Learn more about their efforts and the many other ways in which BSD promotes safety and security in our schools.
A Multi-Layered Approach to Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness
BSD employs a multi-layered approach to ensure the safety of our students and staff. This includes, but is not limited to these areas:
Since the passage of the February 2020 capital bond BSD has constructed security vestibules at seven of our schools, including Bellevue HS, Chinook MS, Highland MS, Somerset ES, Spiritridge ES, Medina ES, and Woodridge ES. Security vestibules, considered a best practice in school physical security, are an easy way to ensure that visitors entering the school campus do not have unfettered access to our classrooms and the interiors of our schools. A security vestibule funnels all visitors through the main office before being allowed access to the interior of the school. This process, coupled with locked exterior doors, an effective visitor management system, employee badging, and alert staff, provides for another security layer and point of screening to detect and deter visitors who might have ill intent.
BSD has also constructed security bollards, or safety posts, adjacent to walkways and entry points at Clyde Hill ES, Highland MS, Sammamish HS, and Wilburton ES to protect students, staff and visitors by creating clear lines between vehicle traffic and walkways. They prevent vehicle-pedestrian accidents and intentional acts of violence by stopping drivers from coming onto school property.
Other physical security measures at BSD schools include:
- Single point of entry with limited building access
- Door locks and alarms
- Electronic visitor management system
- Employee ID badging
- Regular and random physical security audits conducted by the Safety and Security Department
- Security cameras
Students and staff are often the most prepared individuals to deal with emergencies and disasters, as each of our schools conduct monthly emergency drills. The drills teach and reinforce the proper response to natural events including earthquakes, fires, and tornadoes, and man-made events such as hazardous chemical spills, bomb threats, and active threat events. School-based Safety Teams, in coordination with the Safety and Security Department, conduct reviews of the monthly emergency drills to implement improvements in emergency communications, response times, and accountability of staff and students. Procedures for the execution of our monthly drills can be found here.
Other emergency preparedness measures and resources for students and staff include:
- Emergency supply caches
- Life-safety response equipment (lockdown buttons, AEDs, disaster medical supplies, search and rescue equipment, and bleeding control kits)
- Communication systems (radios and intercoms)
BSD employs exceptional staff that are some of the most trained personnel in the state. The Safety and Security Department personnel have extensive backgrounds in emergency management, law enforcement, military, physical security and threat management. These staff members provide instruction to administrators, teachers, custodians, and support personnel in various emergency response and life-safety topics including, but not limited to: Introduction to the Incident Command System, Disaster Medical/Triage, Search and Rescue, Building Damage Assessment, Fire Safety and Suppression, Active Threat Response, Suspicious Activity Reporting, and Bleeding Control. Hear from our staff who recently attended the 8-hour Safety Academy training to prepare for emergencies here. Our staff and students are truly our most important safety resources.
BSD staff also work to keep our schools safe and secure through:
- Trained staff in the Incident Command System and emergency response efforts
- Multi-disciplinary school-based Safety Teams to assess risks and recommend safety improvements at the building level
- Threat assessment process and procedure to address safety concerns and provide appropriate interventions and supports
- A strong relationship with our local first responders including Bellevue PD, Clyde Hill PD, Medina PD, and Bellevue Fire Department and their commitment to the timely responsiveness to concerns and incidents at our schools
- Social emotional learning and Mental Health Assistance Teams to support our students
- SafeSchools tip line for the reporting of safety concerns and HIB violations
Additional Safety and Emergency Preparedness Resources