An emergency or disaster can strike a school community at any time and can take the form of natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes. earthquakes or fires, as well as man-made accidents or criminal activity. When an event occurs during the school day, it is the responsibility of District 303 to care for and protect our most valuable resource: children. In order for teachers to effectively teach, and for students to learn, we must provide safe and secure learning environments, which is the responsibility of all district and school personnel including administrators, teachers, counselors, and support staff members. 

On a regular basis, the school district works in partnership with local public safety and law enforcement officials on training and appropriate responses to emergency events. District 303 also appreciates the efforts of parents and community members who have made us aware of situations. 

Activating our Safety Procedures

The decision to activate our safety procedures is based upon multiple factors, and the extent to which we activate depends on whether the threat or emergency is located within a school building or in the community. We may receive information from local law enforcement about an event in close proximity to our schools that is severe enough to warrant activation of our safety procedures.

Based on this information, we determine which of our schools and facilities are directly impacted and initiate the communication protocol to keep those directly affected by an emergency informed. To ensure a comprehensive communication process, the District uses a combination of our Parent Link Communication System, District website, and social media to relay information.

Messaging Systems

District 303 utilizes the Parent Link system to send messages predominantly by phone, email, and posts to Home Access Center. In an emergency, initial messages will be sent using both voice and email to ensure that families are receiving up to date and accurate information. Regular updates will be provided via the email function of the Parent Link tool.  This allows phone lines to remain open for staff to maintain communication with our administrators and various law enforcement and emergency agencies.

The use of social media (Facebook and Twitter) will also be utilized to post the same message conveyed through the Parent Link system. This ensures consistency of what is being communicated and provides us with the best opportunity to reach a large audience. 

Planning, Partnerships, Training

District 303 takes the safety of our students, staff and visitors seriously. While there is no plan that can totally prevent a random act of senseless violence, District 303 has school and district safety plans in place that have been developed in close partnership with law enforcement authorities and are regularly practiced by our faculty and staff.

We work closely with the numerous police, fire and sheriff’s departments throughout the 5 municipalities that protect District 303 schools.

First responders have copies of our school floor-plans and have been trained on District 303 internal processes. 

On an annual basis staff and students participate in lockdown drills, fire drills and severe weather drills in partnership with local fire and law enforcement agencies. 

Police liaison officers from the local police department are assigned to both of our high schools.

Safe Gun Storage

Providing our students and staff members with safe and secure learning environments is one of the greatest responsibilities we have in District 303. We also believe it is important that we partner with families to keep students safe while they are at home or in the community. The District 303 Safety Committee has asked that information about safe gun storage be shared with our families.

Daily there are news reports that tell the stories of people who have been victims of gun violence. A recent survey found that 57% of U.S. teens are concerned that there will be a shooting in their school. Additional studies of school-based gun violence show that, in most cases (78%), the firearms were obtained from the home of a parent or close relative. Unsecured guns in the home pose a risk to students beyond gun violence in schools. Every year, 350 children accidently shoot themselves or someone else, and another 600 children die by suicide using a firearm.

Parents may believe their children do not know where a firearm is hidden, but 60% of children surveyed have handled their parents’ firearms. Storing firearms safely protects children and can decrease the number of accidental shootings per year. It is also important that parents ask about safe gun storage practices in the homes visited by your children.

As a public service, District 303 is asking that parents and guardians who own firearms make sure they are stored securely as outlined on the Be Smart For Kids website linked here. The site has additional resources and tools families can use to spread the word, learn about gun safety, talk to your children about guns, and keep your family safe.

In addition, the St. Charles Police Department has a supply of free gun locks available to community members. If you would like a free gun lock, please visit the St. Charles Police Department at 1515 W Main Street, St. Charles.

Enhanced Security at Building Entrances

In 2018, District 303 enhanced security at building entrances and updated protocols for visitors coming into our schools. During the school day, we ask that visitors come to the main school entrance, press the buzzer, stand in front of the camera before identifying themselves and providing the reason for their visit. Visitors will be buzzed into the vestibule by school staff.

If a visitor needs to come into the office or building for a specific reason, the individual will be asked to present identification that will be scanned into an electronic visitor management system. Visitors will be issued a temporary ID to wear while in the building and will be asked to check in the office for direction. 

Visitor Management System

Visitors will be required to bring one of the following forms of identification to be scanned when visiting a school:

  • U.S. state license
  • U.S. state identification card
  • Concealed handgun license
  • Consular I.D. cards
  • Alien Registration Receipt Card (green card)
  • Active military card
  • Passport card (not the full passport)

Information that is scanned from the ID includes date of birth, partial license number, and photo for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. Additional visitor data will not be gathered and no data will be shared with any outside company or organization.

All visitors and volunteers granted access into the school building during the day while students are present must have their form of identification scanned and wear a visitor badge. Once your ID is scanned, the information will be stored in the system making subsequent visits more efficient.

The process pertains only to granting access into the school beyond the main office during the school day while students are present. It does not apply to parents who are simply dropping off a forgotten item or who are picking up their student from school.

These procedures do not apply to school activities OUTSIDE of the normal school day. These procedures do apply ANY TIME a visitor will be granted access into the school during the day while students are present regardless of the nature of the visit.