School Safety Measures

What we are doing to prevent school violence.

Northview Public Schools is taking a proactive stance on school safety. We use two sources to guide us in our work of ensuring that our learning community is safe and that we are all effectively prepared. The first source is a collaborative report from the Secret Service and the Department of Education, titled “The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States“, and the second is a more recent report, “Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America.“(PDF)

 

The data contained in these reports present the clearest message—that prevention cannot be oversold as the most effective and certain strategy to prevent violence on a school campus. Prevention entails more than security measures. It requires a change in mindset and policy that is not based on reaction to a gunman entering a school, but rather to what can be done beforehand. It requires change in a school’s culture.

 

Being bullied at school was a common experience shared by perpetrators of school violence in the Safe School Initiative study, and one that Northview, along with most public school districts, has worked diligently to address with students. In addition, we have established partnerships over the past two years with Arbor Circle and Corewell Health to provide professional development for our internal Mental Health Team and training for school office personnel to help them recognize signs of struggle in our students and families. Each school building is assigned one full-time School Social Worker (SSW) to support student well-being and social-emotional needs.

District Safety and Security Committee

The District Safety and Security Committee meets monthly to review district safety initiatives, provide recommendations for needed or anticipated safety training, and provide a “boots on the ground” communication avenue to address safety and security needs across the district. The committee is composed of representative administrative and personnel from all building and department levels.

Multi-Disciplinary Threat Assessment Teams

Building Threat Assessment Teams have been established and trained for each building in the district. In the event a threat is reported, teams will utilize the Kent Intermediate School District’s Behavior Threat Assessment/Management process to determine the level of risk. Teams start by completing a screener and and based on those results, a course of action is recommended and may include the involvement of the School Resource Officer.

Securly

Northview Public Schools employs Securly, a signature cloud-based web filter, to keep students safe on all district-provided computer devices and while using the district’s wireless network. In addition to filtering student web access points, Northview utilizes Securly 24 which is an artificial intelligence tool that analyzes, flags, and notifies a trained safety specialist when student use of monitored devices shows concerning trends and patterns.

Social Emotional Learning

Northview Public Schools employs two full-time professionals who focus on social emotional learning for our students in grades DK-8. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the teaching, learning, and utilization of skills, attitudes, and behaviors that allow people to manage emotions, maintain healthy relationships, define personal identity, achieve goals, solve problems effectively, and both feel and appropriately show empathy.

By being enrolled as a Northview elementary student (DK-4), students receives weekly instruction and classroom engagement in the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) five SEL standards adopted by Michigan:

 

    • Self-Awareness
    • Self-Management
    • Social Awareness
    • Relationship Skills
    • Responsible Decision-Making

 

To learn more, please click here to visit the CASEL Framework interactive wheel of SEL competencies.

 

At Highlands Middle School and Crossroads Middle School, students also receive direct instruction in social emotional concepts, centered around the CASEL Standards. One of our counselors provides lessons in each classroom at both buildings, using the curricular resource The Social Institute. On their website thesocialinstitute.com, this resource is described as “…a gamified, online learning platform that empowers students to navigate their social world — social media and technology — to fuel their health, happiness, and future success. By reinforcing character strengths like empathy, integrity, and teamwork and by showcasing their role models (from student leaders to U.S. Olympians), we use a relevant, positive approach to inspire students to make positive, high-character choices.”

These combined efforts are one way that Northview is being proactive in preventing violence on its school campuses. As always, we welcome your feedback, concerns and ideas by contacting your child’s building administrator. Thank you.

How to report information regarding school violence.

One of the key findings in the Safe School Initiative report is that incidents of school violence, particularly those that involve firearms, are not impulsive. The data show that the planning can take from 1 to 2 days up to a year, and that the individuals who carry out the acts almost always talk about their plans. They may do so on social media, through written expression like poetry or composition or in conversation with other students or peers. Seldom does a perpetrator threaten their intended victims, and rarely does the talk reach an adult.

 

At Northview, we embrace the power that our students possess to intervene and thwart the planning and execution of a violent incident. Our Student Responsibility Centers (SRCs), available to students grades 5-12, provide an open door and encourage “compassionate accountability” to address the heavy burden created for students who may overhear or be privy to disturbing comments or postings. The SRCs offer a safe space for students who may feel unsure about what to do with the information. Silent Observer is always available, and our Security Advisory Team is currently reviewing the OK2SAY tool as an additional option. Students and families can be assured that information shared about a suspected individual or planned incident will be handled professionally, confidentially and with the necessary regard for privacy of all parties involved. It is our responsibility to support both the at risk student with appropriate intervention, as well as the student who reports a concern.

 

Further, it is our mission to communicate in a timely manner to our students, families and community any information that can be shared when a potential incident comes to light.

Improving school safety through strong community partnerships.

As Northview has worked toward improving safety and security, we have readily sought out professional support and resources available to us within our community. We partner with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and have a full-time School Resource Officer, Deputy Allen.

 

Northview is also one of only two districts in Kent County that partners with Arbor Circle to provide an onsite Behavioral Health Liaison. Intsar Abdulahe , MSW, serves to support our students and their families by assisting our social workers, counselors and principals. Ms. Abdulahe is especially adept at helping to connect our students and families to community behavioral health resources.

 

To encourage and promote a safe campus, and to provide an anonymous and confidential avenue for reporting criminal, drug or firearm activity, our district has posted visible information about the Silent Observer/”Fast 50″ program. Students are encouraged to report observations which may cause concern or anxiety, with the assurance that reports are investigated confidentially and immediately in partnership with district administrators.
Some tips are handled using district resources; activity of a more serious nature is handled through local law enforcement. Specific details can be found at: https://www.silentobserver.org/fast-50.

 

To be certain that we are doing all we can do to provide a safe environment for Northview students, we also reached out to Secure Education Consultants (SEC) for a review of our physical campus, buildings, and to review our crisis response protocols. SEC provided an in-depth review of each of our buildings in December 2016 and again in the spring 2023. We have already addressed and acted upon many of the recommendations and continue to prioritize safety enhancements based on the recommendations.

 

In addition, we are currently working with Rockford Construction to address the installation of secure vestibules in our elementary and middle schools.

The “whole child” approach to school safety.

The success of any community in providing a safe, secure environment for its children depends upon everyone working collaboratively — school staff, teachers, administrators, students, parents, business leaders and professionals and all other members of the community.

 

It is true that today’s schools cannot stand alone in the effort to provide a safe environment for students. Northview’s outreach to professional mental health experts in support of our students, families and staff through the various programs I wrote about previously exemplifies our commitment to this truth.

 

Meeting the needs of the whole child to help them develop into a healthy, successful, responsible and productive member of the community requires the engagement and support of all members of that community. It also requires providing a safety net for any gaps that may exist in the interface between home, school, work and the recreational environment. Further, a good safety net requires constant communication and collaboration between each of these stakeholder groups.

 

Another tenet of Northview’s efforts is the enlisting of business partners to promote the interest and support of mentors and other significant adult involvement with students as they mature toward community participation.

 

As our children move from home to school to work or play, we must provide seamless transitions, expecting that accountability follows from one environment to the next and that the culture that they experience from morning to evening is coherent and sensible. Working toward a world that is stable and secure promotes hopefulness and courage as our young adults move beyond the community and into the larger world. It also helps each of us navigate the moments of chaos and uncertainty that inevitably occur along the way. Engaging our students in discussions and listening to their ideas both empowers them and amplifies the cross-generational bond within our community.

If you have any questions or concerns about safety and/or security at Northview Public Schools, please contact School Safety Director Jamey Vermaat at jvermaat@nvps.net, or Deputy Superintendent Dr. Angie Jefferson at ajefferson@nvps.net.