/District Departments / Safety & Security

Safety & Security

The Ball-Chatham School District’s security team and administrators work in partnership with local, county, and state authorities - as well as first responders - to stay current with trends and appropriate responses in numerous scenarios. Each of our schools has enhanced security entrances and procedures, as well as state-of-the-art cameras that monitor 24-7 all of our buildings and grounds. These camera systems are accessible at any time by our security team as well as local police. Armed police officers are permanently stationed at the high school, and are present in each of our schools at different times throughout the day.

 

Emergency Preparedness and Awareness - Annually, our staff and students take part in three school/fire evacuation drills; one bus evacuation drill; one law enforcement drill; one active shooter training; and one severe weather / shelter-in-place drill.

 

The District has posted a “QuickTip” button on its website and mobile app that allows school administrators to receive tips at any time and have the ability to respond in a timely manner to issues that impact the school or individual students. Users can identify which schools receive the tip, select an appropriate topic from the drop-down list, write the message, and submit the tip. New in 2017, GHS Guidance staff, students and the Chatham Police Dept. worked in partnership to create the #SpeakUpForSchoolSafety campaign. Through numerous ongoing activities, high schoolers were encouraged to immediately use the QuickTip line, or tell a trusted adult if they see or hear something that could endanger themselves or others,

 

Terminology used at Ball-Chatham

In the event of a safety/security incident, parents need to be aware of what the terminology means at Ball-Chatham when they receive an email or phone alert message.

 

​Soft Lockdown - This term usually indicates a search of the facility is underway. Searches of this type are generally evidentiary in nature and threats to student safety are minimal.  These may or may not involve law enforcement.​ Procedures used during a soft lockdown - During a soft lockdown, students will remain in their classrooms and instruction/teaching will continue until the lockdown is lifted. School administrators will conduct a safety inspection of the school’s facilities and grounds.  Dependent upon the nature of the inspection, law enforcement may assist. In these cases, law enforcement officers will generally give the “all-clear” to lift the lockdown. During a soft lockdown, staff and parents of children at the specific school will be notified through our Skylert system (email/phone/text), on our websites, and on our social media sites.  Once the “all-clear” is given, staff and parents will be notified via the same procedures.

 

Hard lockdown - This term means there is the possibility of an immediate or imminent threat to students and staff in the building or on the grounds.  These lockdowns will always include a law enforcement response. Procedures used during a hard lockdown - During a hard lockdown, students will be locked in their classrooms and additional emergency preparedness actions will ensue. School administrators will notify local law enforcement officers and emergency responders. Staff, parents, and media will be notified simultaneously through the use of our websites, phone, email, text, and social media.  Parents are asked to refrain from calling the school, as open phone lines will be needed for emergency use. It’s best to regularly check the district’s website for the latest updates. People arriving at the school during a hard lockdown will not be allowed entry into the building or onto the school’s grounds. Lockdowns of this nature may be lengthy in duration.  Information updates and further instructions will be provided as they become available.

 

Building Evacuations - Schools will undergo evacuations if a threat is found to be credible and could impact all, or part of the building facility. Depending on the level of the threat, any school in the vicinity of the one where the threat originated may also be evacuated. During an evacuation, students will be ushered out of the building and into the closest site for student/parent reunification (see below). Students may also be searched if safety concerns require this measure. Depending on the time of day that the threat is found, or the nature of the threat, students may be dismissed from school early rather than evacuated to another facility. Specific to the high school, and if the situation warrants, students who drive may be allowed to leave. Procedures will be implemented to document their absence.

Student/Parent Reunification Process - In some emergency situations, students may be relocated to another facility for safety. In such an instance, Ball-Chatham School District’s Emergency Response Plan incorporates a systematic approach to reuniting children with their parents. The plan identifies the closest pre-arranged site for Parent/Student Reunification for each building. Due to the unpredictable nature of any emergency, the District will only be able to notify parents where the Parent/Student Reunification Site is located at the time of the emergency. This will be communicated through the Skylert system (email/phone/text), on Ball-Chatham websites, and on social media sites. 

 

In order to ensure student safety, it is necessary for the District to establish protocols related to picking up students. Please understand that the reunification process can be time consuming so parents/guardians are urged to be patient. School personnel will do everything possible to reunite parents and student as quickly and safely as possible. Therefore, please be advised of the following guidelines when picking up a student from a Parent-Student Reunification Site:

 

  • Upon arrival, please report to the area designated as “Parent Report Point.” District Reunification Team members will greet you and provide you with a student release form.

  • You will be required to present valid identification. This step is required to protect your child from any unauthorized individuals attempting to pick up your child. The school will be receiving assistance from other schools or outside agencies and, therefore, may not know you.

  • Students will only be released to you or an individual designated on the student's emergency contact. It is critical that the information and phone numbers are current in Skyward. We will be using this information to contact you through the District’s notification system with the evacuation process and location for picking up your child. Please go online to Skyward to update your information.

  • You will be required to sign for the release of your child. This is extremely important as it is our only means of ensuring that all students are accounted for at all times. Please do not take your child from the reunification center without signing for their release.

 

It’s understandable that parents/guardians will be worried and want to be reunited with their children as quickly as possible. However, this system has been established to ensure student safety. Parents/Guardians may be jeopardizing their child’s, or another child’s safety by not adhering to these procedures.

 

​Student and staff safety is our highest priority, and the Ball-Chatham School District will always enact safety procedures with immediacy. To assist us in your receipt of prompt and accurate notification, the District recommends that parents regularly check their Skyward Family Access account to ensure the email addresses, approved contact sources and phone numbers are correct.  Messages can only be received in a timely manner if all pertinent information is listed correctly. The District has no control over the delivery time of the recipients’ email servers.

 

​Lastly, we want to stress that while these events appear to be increasing nationally, schools are still very safe places for our children. When incidents do occur, preparedness, patience and time are our greatest assets.

Director of Safety & Security

Mr. Randy Allen

Address: 201 W. Mulberry, Chatham, IL 62629

P: 217-483-2416| F: 217-483-2940 | E: rallen@bcsd5.org