School Safety Committee

The CCPTA’s School Safety Committee has been retired as of Spring 2020. We welcome new leadership to take on this important initiative.

Past messages (for future reference):

From Tara Teaford, School Safety Committee Chair, February 18, 2020:
“After careful consideration, I have realigned my school safety advocacy work in the way that I believe will be most effective for our students, faculties, and communities:

  1. As one of the two parent members of the state-mandated APS Safety Audit Committee, I will work closely with APS and County safety & security representatives and administrators to prioritize and recommend improvements*, especially funding for those improvements.
  2. I will share those priorities and progress with:
    1. Safety Health Advisory Board (SHAB)
    2. Moms Demand Action Arlington educator outreach leads
    3. CCPTA to share with individual school reps / Safety committees
    4. All of you! And anyone else interested in this topic (likely through regular email updates like this one)
  3. I will lobby the School Board and County Board through letter-writing, speaking at meetings, etc., for those improvements and suggest each of the above groups and members do the same – the larger and louder our message, the more likely we are to achieve our goals.
  4. My perspective and priorities* will be informed by the research and goals of both Moms Demand Action and Sandy Hook Promise.

This means that I will no longer lead the CCPTA Safety Committee after this school year. As long as the safety messaging gets communicated through CCPTA to each APS school, I am not convinced that a committee is necessary (and your responses to this original message lead me to believe you feel the same way). If anyone would like to continue leading the committee, please let me know. Otherwise, the committee will cease to be an official CCPTA effort and the messaging will flow as laid out here.*I plan to advocate for these priorities going forward:

  1. Funding, funding, funding. The APS Emergency Manager has a $0 budget with which to implement improvements, and there is a considerable backlog. Individual schools have unfunded requested improvements also. The triennial surveys have been completed, and the Emergency Manager will submit recommendations and budget requests based on those findings this spring.
  2. Safety & Security oversight of APS facilities. Right now, the facilities department has no reporting line to Safety, Security, & EM staff. This is how multi-million dollar schools get built without appropriate evacuation accommodations.
  3. Anonymous reporting. The primary blocker to implementing this life-saving approach appears to be funding.
  4. Implement Sandy Hook Promise programming across APS and promote the Be SMART campaign for safe firearm storage to all APS adults.

I’ve attached a short summary of the groups, priorities, and how they interconnect if you, like me, prefer visual aids to long emails like this one (!).Thank you all for the input and energy you have devoted to this group for the short time we have been an official committee. I look forward to staying in touch with you on this topic for years to come.”

From Tara Teaford, School Safety Committee Chair, January 5, 2020:
“Over the holidays, the CCPTA Executive Board met to discuss plans for next school year, so I’d like to share my thoughts on the future of this committee and get yours as well.

Should this committee exist in its current form?
CCPTA invited me to form this group in Fall of 2018, and the new APS Emergency Manager, Zachary Pope, was hired at the same time to work exclusively on safety and security issues.

What are our ongoing goals and statuses of each?

  • Baseline security standards – mostly complete
    • These are on the APS website and are fairly comprehensive unless you see something missing?
  • Gap identification vs. those standards at each school – partially complete
    • This is really the realm of APS Facilities and Safety personnel, with school admin and parental observation and advocacy as needed. It may be beneficial to have centralized tracking and reminders, but the input has to come from the schools.
  • Advocacy for funding and prioritization of safety improvements – ongoing
    • This can take a few forms: securing updates from Zac and other APS staff*, letters to the School Board and County Board (re: funding), speaking at School Board and County Board meetings, and publicizing issues through events (safety forum) and local publications (media, including social media).

Additional functions of the committee

*I am also currently a member of the APS Safety Audit Committee, which is mandated by the state to include 2 parent representatives. Let me know if you would like to take my place in the 2020-21 school year, and I’ll make a recommendation.

Bottom line: If we collectively feel that the committee should continue, then please consider leading it next school year. If not, we can still individually and collectively advocate by staying in touch on the topic.”

Reference Information: