Security and Preparedness
The safety, security and overall preparedness of students and staff is a priority in the Olentangy Local Schools District. Olentangy makes every effort to be prepared for any emergency that happens. The District believes that creating a conscientious plan that is continuously reviewed and updated, regularly practicing safety procedures and keeping open lines of communication will help prepare staff and students in case of an emergency.
The District worked with local first responders to develop a plan that includes emergency contact information and procedures for handling crisis situations including lockdowns, natural disasters, chemical spills, bomb threats, missing students and strangers in the building. Copies of the safety plan are available in every building. Each classroom contains a quick-reference guide to the plan. Building- and district-level safety teams exist to support staff members in a crisis. The plan is reviewed continuously and updated annually.
Olentangy schools also conduct a number of practice exercises to ensure that staff and students are as prepared as possible in the event of an emergency. Each building conducts at least nine fire drills and two tornado drills each school year. The state requires schools to conduct one safety drill each year; Olentangy schools meet this requirement and conducts two additional safety drills each year, which may include practicing lockdowns of various security levels. The dates and times of these drills are recorded and filed with local law enforcement and safety officials.
Olentangy believes that open communication is a key element in maintaining safe learning environments. To that end the district has placed links to the Speak UP! reporting system on each of its building websites. The Speak UP! system allows students, parents and any other concerned parties to file an anonymous report regarding potential safety or bullying issues.
When safety concerns arise, OLSD will update parents through one or more of the following communication tools:
- District website
- District mobile app
- District/building emails
- Rapid-calling system
- Social media
STUDENT SAFEGUARD PROTOCOLS
The top priority of the Olentangy Local School District is to protect and keep safe every child entrusted to us. We have multiple policies, practices and procedures in place to help us achieve our mission. Here are a few of the steps we take to keep students safe:
- NEW HIRE BACKGROUND CHECKS: For all employees, the District requires a pre-employment criminal records check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and/or the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).
- PERIODIC RENEWAL BACKGROUND CHECK: For current employees, the Board of Education requires periodic renewed background checks.
- COMPREHENSIVE BACKGROUND CHECK: The District conducts comprehensive criminal record investigations using specialized services to obtain additional information not reported by the agencies named above.
- CONTINUOUS CRIMINAL RECORD MONITORING: The district is notified and immediately investigates when a current employee is arrested or convicted.
- SUSPENSION FROM DUTIES FOR CRIMINAL CHARGES: In the event an employee is arrested, summoned or indicted for certain criminal actions, the District suspends that employee from all duties that require the care, custody, or control of a child.
- ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND CHECKS: The District requires state and federal criminal records checks for every person who volunteers with kids, including classroom volunteers and field trip chaperones. For volunteers who accompany students on overnight trips, the District conducts additional private background checks for an even higher level of security.
- REFERENCE CHECK: The District requires each job applicant to provide at least three professional and one personal reference. We contact each of these references and ask detailed questions about the applicant’s character and fitness to work with children.
- LICENSE CHECK: The District confirms that each teacher has the required educator license.
- PRIOR EMPLOYMENT CHECK: The District requests public records from an employee’s prior public employer, including the employee’s personnel file and any other records related to employment.
- DETAILED APPLICATION: To the extent permitted by law, the District's employment application cautions applicants or requests information regarding criminal arrests, convictions, current or pending investigations, resignations, discharges, and similar information. Falsification of the employment application is grounds for termination and can be referred to law enforcement authorities for criminal prosecution.
- POLICY AWARENESS: Upon being hired, each employee is required to review copies of critical district policies and expressly agree to follow them, including:
- Substance Abuse
- Student Supervision and Welfare
- Acceptable Use of Technology and Network
- Student Abuse and Neglect
- MANDATORY CHILD ABUSE TRAINING: Each nurse, teacher, counselor, school psychologist, and administrator completes at least four hours of in-service training in the prevention of child abuse, violence, and substance abuse and the promotion of positive youth development. They must repeat this training every five years.
- MANDATORY REPORTING: All educators in the Olentangy Local School District (and elsewhere) must report any knowledge of suspected child abuse and neglect. Failure to do so is a crime punishable by a 30-day jail sentence.
- MISCONDUCT REPORTING: The District proactively reports educator misconduct to the Ohio Department of Education whenever possible violations of the Licensure Code of Conduct for Educators are suspected. This process can lead to an educator losing his or her license.
- EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE: The District utilizes a thorough and transparent progressive disciplinary process with all staff. The discipline given to staff is consistent with the requirements of all contracts and with Ohio law.
- EMPLOYEE EVALUATIONS: The District has a comprehensive evaluation process for staff to both educate and evaluate employees. Problem areas are identified and focused upon for improvement.
- POLICE PROTECTION: In addition to our ongoing relationship with local law enforcement, we have School Resource Officers (police officers located within a school building) assigned to our schools. The District added two new School Resource Officers in recent years, bringing the total number of full time officers to five.
- SCHOOL SAFETY TRAINING: Every staff member has participated in a nationally recognized school safety training program to help them respond to threats of criminal behavior and protect the lives of children during such an encounter.
- BUILDING SECURITY: The District has invested in both infrastructure and building security practices to more closely monitor visitors and prevent intruders.