The South-Western City School District Board of Education and staff are committed to making school safety a priority for our community. Safety is our number one priority and our focus remains steadfast in maintaining a safe learning environment in which all can flourish. In maintaining a safe learning environment, we need the help of all students, families, staff, community members and partners. Knowledge, communication, and understanding are the cornerstones of our safety efforts.
SWCSD Safety Tiers:
Stay Informed. Know the Procedures. Stay Safe.
As the result of new digital media technologies and the speed at which messages can be transmitted, school safety continues to evolve in the modern age. Compared to many districts who use “lockdown” procedures and wording for all accidents, concerns, student altercations, medical incidents, or severe weather, the South-Western City School District has three distinct procedures families should familiarize themselves with when it comes to staying informed during an emergency.
**Specific to medical events (seizure, allergic reaction, choking hazard), many District buildings will enter into a Stay Put protocol throughout the year as staff and first responders tend to those emergencies.**
Law Enforcement Partnerships
Grove City Police Department LT. Stern leads a training seminar with administrators Summer 2023. The South-Western City School District is made up of many law enforcement jurisdictions including Grove City Police, Columbus Police, Franklin Township Police, and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. The District employs School Resource Officers (SRO) at each of the four high school campuses and we partner daily with these law enforcement entities on additional patrols around feeder schools and in after hours events and athletic contests.
Our law enforcement partnerships are vital to our ability to preserve a safe learning environment and families and community members should anticipate seeing them frequently at our 30+ buildings for routine check-ins, safety drills, and community events such as Books and Badges read along opportunities with students.
Throughout the school year we routinely meet with safety specialists to refine practices, enhance safety procedures, and review training leaning on their expertise to drive school safety efforts.
When the District enters into one of these categories of a “Stay Put,” a “Secured Perimeter,” or a “Lockdown,” our building staff and the District’s Communications Department work closely with law enforcement to keep students safe throughout the duration of one of these safety levels.
Once information is verified, we will then send home communication to families by way of their email/phone number they have identified in their Infinite Campus Parent Portal as to the ongoing status of the event. During the course of a safety level, it is important that the District have accurate information to send to families and the District’s Communications Services department is committed to ensuring the authenticity of the information we provide before it is sent home.
Our goal is always to communicate these events within the hour; however, families might experience more than a 60-minute notification based on delays from the automated phone/email tree working through the parent and guardian contact lists.
While online discussion boards, the Nextdoor app, and Facebook community pages offer us access to quick information - sometimes that information is unfounded, incomplete, or inaccurate and cause panic. All facts related to any safety matter will be communicated directly to parents and guardians through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. Once that information is shared, families can relay as they see fit to help the District get the word out to keep schools safe.
Additionally, due to the speed of cell phones and social media, no matter how efficient our processes and procedures are we will never be faster than our very technologically-capable students who may only be able to relay parts of factual information based on their proximity to an event.
**Periodically, families should log in to their Infinite Campus Parent Portal to ensure the most up-to-date emergency contact information is available on their child(ren)’s account.
Rumors, Swatting, Threats, and more
With the emergence of social media, group messaging, online discussion boards, and chat rooms in recent years, more and more schools are encountering an influx of unsubstantiated, false threats to schools, sometimes referred to as ‘swatting’.Swatting is defined as a false report to a school or law enforcement of an ongoing or potential threat of violence to prompt an immediate tactical law enforcement response.
Swatting is not a new threat to schools; rather, it has evolved over the last decade and includes a range of tactics, techniques, and procedures used to cause false public alarm and divert law enforcement resources to a hoax threat (now a felony in the State of Ohio).
Swatting, today, includes:
According to the FBI, the agency estimates that approximately 400 swatting incidents occur annually, costing first responders nearly $10,000 per incident.
When investigating these rumors, claims, and swatting hoaxes, the District takes each report seriously and investigates the legitimacy of an ongoing or imminent claim.The goal of of a swat, threat, or hoax is to upend the school day and cause panic.
Once a claim has been deemed false by administration and law enforcement, the goal of the District is always to return to the regularly scheduled school day.
When it comes to reporting suspicious activity during school or after hours, the District, students, families, and community members all have a role to play. Ohio's school safety tip line gives students, parents, teachers and school administrators a way to anonymously report student safety threats to school officials and law enforcement officers. The tip line serves our community 24 hours a day and the call center guarantees the anonymity of the person who calls or texts.
In the event you or your child encounter a social media, text, or in-person safety concern, you are asked to report that to the authorities immediately to investigate the claim.
- Franklin County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number: (614) 525-3333
- Grove City Police Department non-emergency number: (614)-277-1710
- Franklin Township non-emergency number: (614) 525-3333
In addition to these resources, we work with students throughout the school year and encourage families to discuss at home the following:
- Tell a trusted adult such as law enforcement or a school official when you see something of concern
- Refrain from sharing the message in group chats, on social media, or other forum to avoid inducing panic (in some instances some prosecutors across the country have pressed charges per county based on the number of text messages sent for inducing panic)