This Week in School and Campus Safety

Good morning,

This Weekly Update by the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program provides information on West Aurora School District's "Stay Safe @ Home 129" Initiative, links to an article on VCU decreasing use of force incidents, and links to ISBE's information on the Digital Equity Formula Grant and summative evaluations.

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Laura Black
Program Coordinator
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program
West Aurora School District 129 Develops "Stay Safe @ Home 129" Initiative

We previously reported on West Aurora's "Handle with Care" Program back in January. Now, with COVID-19 disrupting traditional-style learning for many districts, West Aurora School District 129 has created the "Stay Safe @ Home 129" Initiative. According to their press release, "this initiative aims to equip students and their families with strategies for safe and healthy living at home." In order to help students stay safe at home, the initiative promotes a variety of safety topics through several mediums. One aspect of the initiative is creating and sharing safety videos throughout September on topics including: fire safety, severe weather, bicycle safety, gun safety, and crossing guards.

Along with the safety videos, West Aurora 129 is sharing safety resources from the American Red Cross. Educational resources such as the Prepare with Pedro series and the Monster Guard App help students prepare for potential emergencies.

Taking safety measures one step further, and again reaffirming the importance of fire, severe weather, and firearm safety, West Aurora 129 has created safety kits that include smoke detectors, weather radios, flashlights, and gun locks to help ensure students remain safe at home. The district is working in coordination with local police departments and Project ChildSafe, which has specific resources for educators, to promote safe firearm storage.

In addition to "Handle with Care," "Stay Safe @ Home 129," and working with Project ChildSafe, West Aurora School District 129 has also established a monthly Aurora-Area School Safety Meeting, and created a Student Support Text Helpline so students can reach out if they need social/emotional support, are worried about a friend, or are in need of shelter or food.
Campus Safety Magazine Article on VCU Decreasing Use of Force Incidents and "Policing with Purpose"

A recent article by Campus Safety Magazine discusses how the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Police Department decreased its number of use or force incidents and uses the philosophy of Policing with Purpose, which "encourages officers and staff to focus on how they can use resources to proactively solve issues in the community instead of reacting once a problem has become unmanageable." The article, How VCU Police Decreased Use-of-Force Incidents by 84%, also discusses how VCU added a Check Police button to their LiveSafe app so concerns about an officer's actions/conduct could be responded to in real-time, and how officers began handing out "stop cards" so individuals could report if they thought they had been treated unfairly or if they wanted to commend the officer.
ISBE Releases Information on Digital Equity Formula Grant and Announces No Regulatory Action Against Districts for No Summative Evaluations this Year

With COVID-19 still disrupting regular in-person learning for many across the state, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has continued to update its Coronavirus webpage. Most recently, ISBE added information on the Elementary and Secondary Relief - Digital Equity Formula Grant, including a PowerPoint.

ISBE also released a letter announcing that because of the "unusual nature of this 2020-21 school year, the board decided this agency will not initiate regulatory action against districts that don't end up moving forward with summative evaluations this year. This flexibility will be available for school districts for this school year only."
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program