School Safety: A Short Look Into Safety Both On and Off-Campus

PHOTO COURTESY OF MONKEYBUSINESS

School safety is a topic that is on the minds of many going into the new school year, and this is no different when it comes to the minds of school officials and safety officers throughout the Clovis area. But school safety comes in many forms and elements, including travel safety, especially early on in the school year as parents weave through different traffic patterns, watch out for pedestrians and even deal with new school bell schedules.

Slowing down and being aware are two things that can relate to both traffic safety and school safety in general.

Chief Communications Officer, Kelly Avants reminded that each school within CUSD has an “extensive and detailed” school safety plan. These plans detail safety aspects for everything including natural disasters to active intruders to even stray animals on campus. Last Fall, CUSD also installed a new notification system that makes it easier to activate these emergency programs if safety plans are needed.

This new notification system allows the District to communicate to a campus on a quicker basis when activating a school safety plan. By implementing this new notification system, the District believes that they are now able to speed up the process of notifications by seconds, knowing that “seconds save lives.” CUSD is also currently in the process as of August 10th, of refreshing staff on the rules of the safety precautions and implementing training. Site safety teams are also going through their annual preparations at each school.

How does the school district plan on making parents feel safe this upcoming school year? They plan to reassure that school safety is not something that exists as a “side element”. “[School safety] is woven into the fabric of our campuses, I don’t know of a principal that does not wake up with safety and the safety of their students at the top of mind.”

Kelly Avants reminds that CUSD is in “constant communication” with those who are in the field of safety, including the Clovis Police Department who had a few key points when speaking on travel and school safety.

The incoming school year brings forth a new bell schedule for High Schools and Intermediate Schools within the school district, and with that, new drop off and pick up times for parents of those students, says Corporal Rich Ashcraft of Clovis PD. Ashcraft, Supervisor of Traffic and Motors expounded upon the one fact that could make the difference between a traffic accident or getting a student to school safely.

“Give yourself enough time [to get students to school safely], and slow down.”

While the police department predicts that the entire traffic flow will be affected by the new school bell schedule, Ashcroft also reminds drivers to simply slow down when driving around schools. “We always have people calling and complaining about speeders around this school, that school.” Ashcroft also mentions that illegal U-Turns in front of schools are a dangerous hazard along with stopping in the middle of the street. Stopping in the middle of the street to allow children to leave a vehicle is not only illegal but it is very dangerous.

Clovis PD will have additional officers out and focused on specific school areas for the first few weeks of school to provide enforcement of these rules, to see how traffic flows with the new bell schedules, and to also stand in as visual deterrents for those who may be driving recklessly through a school zone.

A good tip provided by the Supervisor of Traffic and Motors is to take a drive to and around school sites before the first day of school so that drivers are more aware of efficient routes and safety, not to mention locating various traffic signs that surround school sites.

Kelly Avants from CUSD reminds parents that they can research questions about the upcoming school year on the District’s “Back to School” page. School starts across Clovis Unified School District on Monday August 22nd.

When speaking about how each year, each student grabs a school experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, Avants laments on how that can be either a good or bad experience. “We are really looking at this year as our chance to positively impact our students’ futures, their life trajectories in a positive way, and we’re gonna look at every day as an opportunity to do that.”

“We have a saying about being lifelong learners and are always setting goals for ourselves in being better tomorrow than today…We have a theme in Clovis Unified every year that speaks to the moment really in time…This year our theme is ‘Building Tomorrow Today’”.

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.