Plattsmouth Community Schools (PCS) officials are discussing ways to further ensure students are safe in all the district’s schools.
“Student and staff safety continues to be a top priority for our district,” PCS Superintendent Dr. Richard Hasty said. “The district has had a safety and security plan with protocols developed with Nesbitt and Associates School Security Services experts. The plan and protocols are not typically shared with the public, as doing so could compromise the safety of students.”
Every year, Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB) provides multiple safety training sessions for certificated and non-certificated staff members to complete. Training sessions include first aid, child abuse identification and intervention, concussion awareness, sexual harassment, bullying recognition and response, personal protective equipment, student mental health, dating violence and online safety.
The state also requires staff members to complete a one-hour, state-approved training session relative to suicide prevention.
“In addition to the identified safety training, building administrators schedule emergency drills and related training at their discretion or as required by law,” Hasty explained.
Each school building has a check-in/check-out system. “Background check screening is implemented for potential volunteers. Buzzer systems are used to monitor activity at the front entrances,” he said.
Interior and exterior live video surveillance is ongoing at each school campus. “The video is stored and multiple staff members monitor the live and recorded video,” Hasty said. “Law enforcement also has access to it.”
In addition, Rob Rice, a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO), is on duty in the district. “The SRO supports all buildings with preventing or responding to potentially unsafe situations. We will probably be asking if we need more than one in future conversations,” Hasty said. “Staff members also have badges identifying them as school employees.”
The district also employs three full-time social workers — one worker for each building. There is also a social-emotional consultant at the Early Childhood Center.
“We have a Response Team that is usually activated when a student or staff death occurs,” he said. “They also provide support, socially and emotionally, during other crisis situations. We also have people from throughout the district on the Response Team.”
The Safety Team is another group that oversees district-wide safety issues. “It is comprised of representatives from the district such as food service and transportation as well as the Plattsmouth Police Department and Cass County Sheriff’s Department,” Hasty said. “That team meets a minimum of four times a year. There have been some additional meetings of some of those representatives to discuss security and safety. They reviewed the safety and security plans and made some updates.”
Cass County Sheriff’s Office staff will soon be providing intruder-response training for the staff.
When a situation develops, parents/guardians are notified through the Infinite Campus message program. “The timing of the communication may vary depending on the specific details of each individual situation as well as communication with law enforcement in an effort to share accurate information,” Hasty explained.
After the investigation on the threats made against Plattsmouth High School concluded, the district received many questions about when a student who has been removed from school may resume attendance in the district.
“Student removal from school for disciplinary reasons is determined by state statutes referenced in Policy 5101 Student Discipline. It specifies guidelines for expulsion,” Hasty said.
The policy defines expulsion as being excluded from attending any of the schools, grounds and/or activities in the district for a period not to exceed the remainder of the semester in which the exclusion took effect.
“A student who has been expelled shall not be permitted to be on school grounds without the express permission of the principal,” the policy states. “A notice will include a description of the procedures for expulsion; the procedures will be those set forth in the Student Discipline Act.”
Several actions are grounds for short-term suspensions including willfully disobeying reasonable written or spoken requests by a school staff member; using violence, force, coercion or threats with an intent to harm another person; attempting to substantially damage or steal property; causing or trying to cause personal injury to anyone on the school campuses; intimidating or threatening a student to obtain money or any other valuable item; knowingly possessing any object or material considered as a weapon or having explosive properties including fireworks; selling, using, possessing or dispensing alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, controlled substances or inhalant; public indecency or sexual conduct; engaging in bullying; sexually assaulting any person; engaging in any illegal activity; truancy or excessive tardiness; written or spoken abusive language; dressing or grooming in a manner dangerous to others; engaging in speech that is lewd or indecent; and willfully violating behavioral expectations for riding school buses or vehicles.
A link to Policy 5101 may be accessed under “announcements” on the district’s website home page at www.pcsd.org , with guidelines for expulsion in item 3.a. on page two.