Fort Wayne Community Schools is committed to providing a safe learning environment for our students and staff. The importance of addressing school security directly came with the establishment of the Security Department in 1995. As school security needs have evolved, so have our procedures. Our mission, however, has not wavered: The FWCS Security Department strives to provide a safe learning environment for all students, staff and visitors to our properties and events.
FWCS has comprehensive safety and emergency plans for every building, and all schools regularly conduct various drills, including fire drills, severe weather drills, evacuations drills and intruder drills, to prepare students for an emergency. We emphasize a collaborative approach to safety and security. Relationships with students and families are our greatest security resource. We all play a role in maintaining a safe environment, and when students feel secure to report what they see and hear, they are more likely to do so. In addition, FWCS works closely with local law enforcement, emergency responders and educators on a local, state and national level.
Getting to and from school
Students should always:
- Always use the BUDDY SYSTEM
- Walk in well lit areas, never take shortcuts
- Stay with a group while waiting at the bus stop
- If someone bothers you, say NO, then GO and TELL a trusted adult
- Never accept a ride from anyone unless your parents say it’s OK, even if you know the person
- If someone follows you on foot, get away as quickly as possible. If they follow you in a car, turn around and go the other way
- Never leave school with someone you don’t know
Keep your passwords private
- Never give out passwords to strangers or even friends. Don’t share your password online, even if the request looks "official."
Protect your personal information
- Never use your first or last name in your screen name.
- Never give out your, address, phone number or other personal information.
- Be careful in chat rooms, strangers may be reading what you say
Communicating in a Crisis - What Parents Can Expect
When an emergency happens at a school facility, FWCS will be committed first to student and staff safety. Communicating to parents will also be a high priority, as we understand parents will be anxious for information. Here is how we plan to communicate:
A lockdown is called when there is a threat or hazard inside the school. The situation poses a serious threat stemming from circumstances, such as domestic violence, unwanted person or an armed intruder. In the event of an armed intruder, the Avoid, Deny, Defend strategies should be used. Communication to parents: As soon as there is information to share and it is safe to do so, parents will receive a text message and/or automated phone call from the school. Depending on the nature of the situation, parents should expect initial information to be limited. As the situation develops, additional information will be shared, including reunification information, if necessary.
A lockout is called when there is a threat or hazard outside the school building. When this occurs, all windows and doors are secured, and no further entry is permitted until an all clear is given. Any students and staff outside should be immediately notified to return to the safety of the building. Communication to parents: In a typical lockout scenario, there is little to no disruption to the school day. Oftentimes, the lockout is only a few minutes long. In those cases, schools may not send a letter home to parents as students were not in danger and the school day was not disrupted. In the event of a lengthy lockout, schools will send a letter home to parents. If the lockout will affect arrival or dismissal time, parents will receive a text message and/or automated phone call with instructions on any changes made to arrival/dismissal procedures.
When a school is notified of a threat, school staff work with local police agencies to investigate. This includes locating the source of the threat and determining the validity of the threat. Most often, students are quickly identified and the statements are determined to not be a valid threat. The situation is handled as a school discipline and, if necessary, a police matter. All threats reported to FWCS staff will be investigated. Communication to parents: In these cases, parents will not be notified of the alleged threat, unless it has caused a disruption to the school day. Parents of students directly involved will receive a phone call from the school. If a threat is deemed to be a valid threat or if there is uncertainty about the validity of a threat, parents will be notified by text and/or automated phone call from the school. The notification typically will be sent in the morning, prior to the start of the school day, to allow for maximum time to investigate the threat and provide the most complete information possible.
With social media, rumors run rampant. If you see or hear of a "threat" on social media, please contact the school and/or police as soon as possible. Please do not share social media rumors on your person social media accounts, as this only makes the situation worse. FWCS investigates all threats and rumors, regardless of the initial validity. Oftentimes, what is posted on social media is made up, from another part of the country or a misunderstanding of something overheard. These posts have a tendency to spread quickly and often resurface weeks after they initially appeared. Communication to parents: To minimize the spread of misinformation, FWCS will not repeat rumors. If a rumor is causing a disruption in a school building, parents may be notified of the action taken by FWCS and police.
How can you tell the difference between real and fake posts? Here’s a start.
Beware of Scams
- Don’t respond to official looking e-mail asking for personal information.
- Watch out for "free" offers. These are often scams to get personal information.
- Don’t open an e-mail attachment unless you are expecting it or know the sender.
- Be careful about downloading programs or plug-ins from websites.
Don’t trade pictures with people you don’t know
- You can never be sure people are really who they say they are.
- Pictures can be forwarded on to anyone.
Don’t respond to messages that make you feel uncomfortable
- These may include someone asking about your body or clothes, someone wanting to know where you live, comments about sex, or threatening messages.
- If you receive messages that make you uncomfortable or scare you, tell an adult.
Don’t get together with someone you’ve met on the Internet
- People on the Internet can pretend to be someone they are not (and adult can pretend to be a teenager).
- If you think a person is safe and you want to meet, talk about it with your parents.
Tips for parents
- Become involved in your child’s school activities- PTA or field trips, help out in your child’s classroom
- Know where your children are, what they are doing and who they are with at all times
- Arrange an alternative place where your child can wait if you are delayed, especially in the darker winter evenings. Suggest a well-lit store or inside an area or school.
- Use a secret family code. Children should never go with anyone, not even close family friends, unless such friends are able to give the child the code. Once the code has been used, it should be changed.
- Don’t allow young children to go to a public washroom unattended.
Teach your child to...
- Know their full name, address and phone number (including area code)
- Know how to make long distance telephone calls
- Know how to dial 911
- Never go near a car with a stranger in it
- Never get in a car without your permission
- Never tell someone on the phone that they are home alone
- Always lock the doors at home
- Never open the door to a stranger
- A dangerous person can be a person who pretends to be nice-big, small, old, young, a man, a woman, girl or boy
Useful Web sites
- On Guard Online
This site provides practical tips from the federal government and technology industry on how to safety use the Internet.
- Parents for Megan’s Law
This site provides easy access to sex offender registries and links to report offenders who fail to comply with registration requirements. The site also includes sexual abuse prevention resources and assistance in accessing crime victim support services. National Megan’s Law Helpline - (888) ASK-PFML ( 888-275-7365).