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School Safety & Security

The safety and security of students and staff are the top priorities of Roanoke City Public Schools (RCPS). We have a comprehensive approach to safety that includes grounds, infrastructure, and social emotional wellbeing. The information below provides an overview of some of the actions and measures RCPS has in place.

Division Safety Advisory Committee:

The Division Safety Audit/Advisory Committee (DSAC) was established by the Roanoke City School Board in 2014 to meet requirements of § 22.1‐279.8 of the Code of Virginia. The Board is required to establish a school safety audit committee to include, if available, representatives of parents, teachers, local law enforcement, emergency services agencies, local community services boards, and judicial and public safety personnel.

DSAC oversees the completion of the five (5) elements of the Virginia School Safety Audit Program administered by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety. The elements of the Safety Audit Program are as follows:

1. Virginia School Safety Survey

2. The Division Level Survey

3. Virginia School Crisis Management Plan Review

4. Certification of the Virginia School Crisis Management Plan

5. Virginia Secondary School Climate Survey

The Committee is also responsible for reviewing discipline, crime, and violence data and other safety-related indicators such as physical security, bullying/harassment, and overall school climate to make recommendations to the Board on improving safety and climate conditions division-wide.

Crisis Response Plans and Training:

All schools in RCPS have Crisis Response Plans to ensure staff are prepared and know what to do in the event of a crisis. Plans are reviewed frequently, and training is conducted using various crisis scenarios throughout the year. Students also practice lockdown, evacuation, and weather-related safety scenarios.

RCPS also partners with the City of Roanoke’s Emergency Manager and Virginia Department of Emergency Management to conduct crisis training, to include full-scale exercises, functional exercises, and table-top exercises.

Threat Assessments:

RCPS uses the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (originally known as the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines), which are also used by schools across the country to evaluate threats to school safety. The training equips school staff to use the evidence-based system to evaluate threats of violence made by students, whether toward themselves or others.

Every school has a threat assessment team that draws on the resources of school administrators, counselors, psychologists, social workers, and/or school resource officers.

Coordination with Law Enforcement and School Resource Officers:

Every exterior door at each RCPS building and school are clearly numbered. These numbered doors assist emergency responders so they can quickly identify which entrance to use in the event of an emergency. RCPS also provides public safety agencies with electronic floor plans and access to live/recorded video at all schools.

Roanoke City Public Schools has a School Resource Officer (SRO) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is reviewed and updated for approval every two years in partnership with the Roanoke Police Department and City of Roanoke Sheriff’s Office. SROs provide a daily law enforcement presence in our schools and help to promote positive and supportive school climates and create and maintain safe and secure school environments. SROs are assigned to monitor all RCPS elementary, middle, high schools, and programs.

School Entrances:

All schools have been updated with secure, double entryways. Buzzer and camera systems require anyone entering the school to check in before gaining access to other areas of the school.  All visitors must access the school through the main entrance, and all other exterior doors are always locked from outside access.

Visitor Kiosks – ScholarChip:

All visitors at schools must sign in through kiosks, located in the double-entry vestibule, using either their driver’s license or their name and date of birth. This information is immediately scanned to ensure anyone who should not have access to the school is not admitted, including anyone who is listed on the national sex offender registry. Concerns identified through the kiosks are addressed immediately by school administrators.

Electronic Employee Badges:

All employees utilize electronic key cards to access school and other RCPS facilities. This system allows for access to be restricted to certain times of day, depending on the employee’s regular duties. These cards also allow access to be changed instantly, should an employee’s ID card be lost or stolen.

Use of Cameras:

Cameras are positioned throughout RCPS schools and facilities, allowing activity to be actively monitored in real time. Cameras are used to ensure any disciplinary issues are resolved quickly and to monitor activity for safety purposes. Buses are also equipped with cameras.

Trauma-Responsive Practices, Mindfulness, and Social Emotional Learning:

RCPS implements mindfulness-based Social and Emotional Learning program and trauma-responsive practices that supports all students and staff. RCPS works from an adapted model of the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) model of Trauma-Informed Care. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. RCPS employs counselors, social workers, and school psychologists in schools to ensure students have the supports they need to be successful. Therapists from Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare have also been assigned to middle schools. 

School counselors and school social workers provide individual and group counseling to students as needed. School counselors and school social workers are master’s level mental health clinicians with extensive training in child development and psychology. Counselors and social workers provide developmentally appropriate, goal-focused, brief counseling sessions to address issues related to mental health/wellness, social emotional development, achievement, and or college/career readiness. Individual counseling can be requested by a student, family member, or staff member and is provided on a short-term basis.

Counselors and social workers also offer crisis counseling to help students navigate critical and emergency crisis situations that may occur internally or in their community or family.

In addition, small group counseling is offered to students on a variety of topics. Students in a group have similar developmental or situational challenges. The goal of group therapy, which typically lasts six to eight sessions, is to improve achievement, attendance, mental/health wellness, and/or behavioral outcomes.

RCPS also has a Coordinator of Mindfulness Education who works with teachers who have been trained as Mindfulness Coaches across the division. Mindfulness is about learning to train your attention to the present moment without dwelling on what has happened in the past or worrying about the future. The goal of mindfulness is for students to be present in the classroom and ready and able to learn what is being taught without distraction from what is happening elsewhere in their lives.

Bullying Hotline

The Bullying Hotline is open to anyone who experiences or observes school-related bullying. Bullying is defined as any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. 

Call (540) 853.1700 to report bullying. Reporters can remain anonymous.

40 Douglass Avenue NW, Roanoke, VA 24012 Phone 540-853-2502