What do you do to keep my child safe?

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Lexington County School District One is committed to the safety and well-being of all our students at all times.

In Lexington One administrators and representatives from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Lexington Police Department and the Town of Pelion Police meet monthly to discuss issues related to school and community safety. We have always worked closely with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and its resident deputies, the Town of Lexington Police and the Pelion Police Department to address our school communities’ needs regarding the safety of our schools.

The district has a Director of Safety and Emergency Services, a full-time hearing officer and a district-level safety team.

Every school has a safety team and a detailed school safety plan which parents and other interested individuals are welcome to review and offer suggestions for improvement. We continue to review these plans annually in an effort to eliminate any oversights and to provide continuity throughout our schools.

We have School Resource Officers at all our middle and high schools and at the Lexington Technology Center. We have officers in elementary schools for several hours each day. Those hours are deliberately rotated during the week and not at the same time of day each day.

However, our schools are just like the rest of the world. From time to time, something out of the ordinary happens — a student brings a weapon or drugs to school or a student threatens himself or another individual.

For that reason, each school has a comprehensive visitor check-in and check-out system located at the front desk in all schools designed to help ensure that no unauthorized person enters. This system runs an automated check on each visitor against a list of registered sex offenders every time he or she visits. Each visitor must check in and out when in a school, regardless of the time of day.

All visitors and volunteers must wear their name badges in plain sight at all times while on school grounds or at school-related events or activities. (Visitors are not asked, however, to check in and out using this system during large evening PTA/PTO meetings, school plays, programs, athletic events, etc.)

Schools lock exterior doors that do not have to remain unlocked and limit the number of access points. All schools’ front entrances are secure entrances. When someone enters a school with a secure entrance, that person must go through the school’s front office and is unable to enter the school without going through that office.

We have telephones in every classroom, including portables.

We have security cameras at each school and on school buses that record not only video but audio.

We have after-school programs or safe havens at most of our elementary schools.

The district’s school counselors and school psychologists use a series of staff development initiatives designed to help staff identify students at risk for violent behavior early and to teach staff appropriate interventions. Each teacher has a written guide to help them recognize early warning signals and tell them the steps to take if they are concerned about a student. They are reminded to stay alert to internal problems, to recognize potential warning signs and to react quickly to a crisis.

Guidance counselors and school psychologists in each school teach teachers how to use this guide.

We remind parents and staff how important it is to maintain open communication with children — about what they are seeing on television, about how they deal with anger and frustration, and about their relationships with other students. If parents feel free to talk with administrators and staff about their children’s problems and budding disputes within the student body, it will go a long way toward defusing tensions within the school.

We remind students that they have an obligation to themselves and to their classmates to bring information about dangerous situations to adults at the school so that we can respond quickly and appropriately to protect their safety. (The safety and well-being of their friends and classmates are more important than the issue of tattling or “narcing.”)

We remind parents and students that they can help make our schools safer, too, by not passing along the rumors they hear to their neighbors or friends; but, instead, reporting them to a school administrator who will then investigate and turn it over to the police, if necessary.

Our staff, students and parents have several tip lines they can use to report crimes anonymously. The district’s Tip Line telephone number is 803-821-1232 and the Midlands Crimestoppers telephone number is 1-888-274-6372.

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