Student safety is CMCSS’s top priority. CMCSS has a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. This plan is continuously reviewed and practiced in coordination with local law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, emergency management, and other responding agencies. While CMCSS does not publicly advertise its plan to ensure that those who wish to do harm do not have access to the information, the District and its security stakeholders stand behind its plans, procedures, and practices to keep students safe.
Every school in the district has an established Emergency Management Team to oversee the implementation of the Emergency Management Plan in their school. Additionally, CMCSS’s Safety and Health Department conducts drills, exercises, and random audits at every school to ensure protocols are followed.
CMCSS is thankful to have over 50 School Resource Officers (SROs) who provide guidance, support, and security in all of our schools. In addition to our Emergency Management Plan and SROs, every school in our district is equipped with a secured front entrance, a visitor screening system, and surveillance cameras strategically positioned in all of our facilities.
CMCSS does all that it can to ensure students are safe, but it takes the entire community working together to provide a secure educational environment. We know it can be a challenging conversation, but we ask parents to please talk to their children about the importance of immediately reporting any safety concern to a teacher, administrator, SRO, or other trusted adult. Whether it is on social media or in the schoolhouse, if you see or hear something, say something to a school or law enforcement official. Additionally, it is important that families read the Student Code of Conduct, reinforce positive behaviors with students, and explain the consequences, including potential criminal charges, for offenses.
Per state law, an individual can be charged for recklessly, by any means of communication, threatening to commit an act of mass violence on school property or at a school-related activity. Additionally, the Student Code of Conduct was updated to make credible threats a Zero Tolerance Offense (mandatory calendar-year expulsion). In several cases, students have made threatening statements they claimed were jokes. Making a threat is not a joke, and the consequences are serious.
One of the most important things we can all do is truly get to know our children. When students have meaningful connections with teachers, parents, and other trusted adults, it can make a tremendous difference when they are struggling emotionally or need extra support.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is partnering with CMCSS to pilot Evolv technologies at Northwest High and Rossview High Schools in the 2023-2024 school year. Learn more here.
Protocols and Practices
In following international best practices, CMCSS does not publicize comprehensive details of its safety and security plans and protocols. However, below is a brief overview of some of the protocols and practices in place:
Active Threat Plan Video: All teachers, staff, and 6-12 students are required to watch the 10-minute video before or after each Lockdown Drill.
Alertus: CMCSS schools have an Emergency Notification System that allows staff to quickly Lockdown the building if needed. Alertus also has a panic button feature that notifies administration and the SRO if needed.
All Call: CMCSS schools have an “All Call” phone feature that enables staff to quickly relay emergency information over the phone/intercom system in emergency situations.
Bus Panic Button: CMCSS buses are equipped with a panic button for emergency situations.
Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (C.R.A.S.E): The Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) course, designed and built on the Avoid, Deny, Defend (ADD) strategy developed by ALERRT in 2004, provides strategies, guidance and a proven plan for surviving an active shooter event. CMCSS Schools are required to participate in this course every other year.
Classroom Doors: All CMCSS classrooms doors have been retrofitted with push button locks. This allows staff to quickly lock a classroom door in the event of an emergency situation.
Content Keeper/Bark: The CMCSS Technology Department uses Content Keeper/Bark software to flag certain key words (ex: suicide, bomb, gun, knife, shooting) on CMCSS technology equipment or any device connected to CMCSS Wifi. If a word is flagged, it is reported to Law Enforcement and Administration.
District Tabletop Sessions: The Safety and Health Department conducts a District tabletop session every year. Tabletop sessions provide mock emergency scenarios, putting emergency plans into action. This session is held with the District Emergency Management Team.
E911 Email Notifications: The Safety and Health Department/Technology Department receives an email notification if any school landline phone dials 911.
Emergency Management Plan (EMP): This online plan is continuously reviewed and practiced in coordination with local fire, police, emergency medical services and other responding agencies. This plan also includes individual forms for each school, multiple resources, and is customized to each school.
Emergency Management Team: A School Emergency Management Team includes administration, office personnel, teacher, school nurse, lead custodian, food service manager, and counselor who ensure each school is prepared in an emergency situation to follow the EMP.
Facility Inspections: The Safety and Health Department conducts yearly Facility Inspections at all CMCSS locations to look for occupational and school safety hazards.
Flipcharts/Emergency Maps: All CMCSS classrooms are equipped with a CMCSS Flip Chart that goes over potential emergency situations and how to respond. These flipcharts and emergency maps are in each classroom.
Front Entrance/School Renovations: The Operations Department at CMCSS has completed front entrance renovation projects at CMCSS schools. The upgraded entrances provide enhanced security to the building entrances. Grant funding from the state has also allowed us to add ballistic window film, ballards, additional exterior lighting, exterior door numbering, Knox boxes, and camera stations.
Intruder Drills: Each school is required to complete four Intruder/Active Shooter drills each year during disruptive times (ex: lunch, before & after school).
NIMS/FEMA courses: Each Emergency Management team member is required to take the IS-100.SCA and IS-700A. CMCSS staff members have completed over 1,900 NIMS compliant training courses.
Radios: Each school has multiple radios in the building. Two of the school radios are equipped with panic button features.
Raptor: Every visitor is instantly screened against the registered sex offender databases in all fifty states. Raptor can check visitors against custom databases set by each school which can contain custody alerts and/or banned visitors. Raptor also has an emergency button feature for the front office staff.
School Security Audits: The Safety and Health team, along with assistance from local law enforcement conducts ongoing security audits. The school security audits are performed four times a year at random. Each school is evaluated on how well they perform during the audit.
School Tabletop Sessions: The Safety and Health Department conducts a tabletop session at each school every year. Tabletop sessions provide mock emergency scenarios, assisting schools with putting emergency plans into action. These sessions are held with the school’s Emergency Management Team.
SROs: Employed by MCSO, these officers provide training, guidance, support, and security in all of our schools.
Staff Trainings: CMCSS Staff are annually trained on Emergency Procedures.
Standard Response Protocol: The Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is based on the response to any given situation not on individual scenarios. Like the Incident Command System (ICS), SRP demands a specific vocabulary but also allows for great flexibility. The terms used for CMCSS are Lockdown, Lockout, Shelter, Evacuate, and Hold.
Surveillance Cameras: Hundreds of surveillance cameras are strategically positioned in all school system facilities.
Threat Assessment Teams: Threat assessment teams are established within the District to develop intervention-based approaches to prevent violence, manage reports of potential threats, and create a system that fosters a safe, supportive, and effective school environment. The school teams are made up of the principal, assistant principal, school counselor/social worker/mental health staff, SRO, etc. The team documents all behaviors and incidents deemed to pose a risk to school safety or that resulted in intervention.
TN Site Assessments: CMCSS schools are required to conduct a school security assessment using the assessment tool developed by the TN Department of Homeland Security (TDOHS). Assessments are to be completed on an annual basis by the school administration and the SRO.