Schools take care, for a few brief hours every day, of the most important people in our worlds. In Oak Creek we have strong partnerships: our parents care, our staff is prepared and committed, and our children come to school wanting to do their best.
Safety Procedures & Protocols
Our primary focus will always be the safety of our learners. We have plans and protocols in place to prepare our schools for various types of situations and to keep our students safe.
- Secure Entry & Manage Building Access
- Safety Plans
- School Site-Based Safety Assessments
- School Resource Officers
- Safety Drills
- Staff Training
- Safety Kits
- Handling Threats
- School Counseling & Emotional Support
- Internet Safety
- Information for Students with Special Needs
- Resources for Parents
- Speak Up, Speak Out
All of our Oak Creek-Franklin public schools have locked, secure entrances--external doors are locked during the school day--essentially putting our schools in what’s commonly called “SECURE” (outer doors locked) all the time. Upon close inspection, you’d notice some of our door-glass is covered with a special polymer designed to prevent shattering, and we even landscape in a way that prioritizes visibility over aesthetics. Classrooms are equipped with aftermarket locking panels or magnets, which allow for a speed-locking of sorts.
Raptor Visitor Management System
Visitors must be buzzed in the secure entry door before entering any building. If a visitor plans on staying in the school building for any length of time or moving beyond the lobby, they do what’s called a “credential exchange,” using the Raptor Alert System. The Raptor Alert System is basically a digital system for signing in and getting a badge. Raptor scans the user’s ID against databases for any violation that would prevent the individual from being able to enter a school. Raptor also creates a daily record of who is in the building and when.
All our buildings are equipped with direct notification systems allowing members of our staff to connect directly to law enforcement. Imagine a situation where many individuals are calling emergency services at the same time; this system, so to speak, allows us to jump the line, and share the location of the crisis immediately. In testing, we’ve learned that response to our schools is very quick, and we know that Oak Creek Police will immediately enter our facilities in a crisis.
All adults in our schools are committed to safety. A select group of those committed individuals serves on each school’s Safety Team. These teams convene multiple times a year and are committed to regularly refining and improving their site plans; site plans comply with best practices we’ve learned from FEMA, OCPD, OCFD, and others. It’s not uncommon for the teams to convene after a drill, severe weather incident, or other real/practical concern. The teams do a debrief and focus on identifying process improvements. In the same way, we ask for each classroom to continuously improve, so too do we approach safety planning. Procedures are discussed and practiced at each of the buildings. We also meet regularly with our community partners in the local fire and police departments.
Our schools were awarded the StormReady certification by the National Weather Service. Through coordination between local weather personality Mark McGinnis, the National Weather Service, and our Building and Grounds Department, we’ve reviewed all our storm shelter locations in order to ensure that we have thoughtfully planned for severe weather and have designated the best possible locations at all our facilities as storm shelters.
Each spring in coordination with our partners in the Oak Creek Police Department, we perform reviews of both our entry/exit processes, school safety plans, and conduct walk-throughs at each building using a Site-Based Assessment form adapted from M3 Insurance. Local law enforcement helps us ensure that we are aligning with evolving best practices in facility safety and noting any safety concerns to rectify or enhance what is in place. The world of school safety is evolving so quickly, that we want to ensure we’re asking our local experts about how we can continue to improve.
The School District and the schools have a close relationship with the Oak Creek Police Department. We have three dedicated school liaison officers that are exceptional partners in the day-to-day safety of our schools. They advise us regularly and are integral to our training and preparation. You’ll find Officer Zach Case at the high school and Ninth Grade Center every day; Officer Shawn Lentz and Officer Matthew Bublitz spend time in our two middle schools and split the seven elementary schools. We also support and encourage other day-shift officers to visit our schools for lunch, or just to check in; these are informal visits and promote our community partnership as well as visibility.
As we welcome Officer Bublitz and welcome back Officers Case & Lentz, we'd also like to thank Detective Ashley Chapman for her service as a School Resource Office for part of the 2020-21 school year and the 2021-22 school year. Your support, dedication, and expertise will be missed. Thank you for all you continue to do for the citizens of Oak Creek and the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District.
At our schools, it is extremely common to see a police vehicle parked in front of our schools for non-emergency reasons, like school concerts, classroom lessons, or other school events. In addition to providing a pure law enforcement-based safety measure, our SROs advise and counsel in ways at times similar to a school counselor. The SROs also share what we call “Five Minute Friday or Minute Monday,” messages that invite discussion and call for considering scenarios in a table-top format; these activities help us create the mental maps that save seconds in a crisis.
All schools perform emergency drills on a regular basis. Our schools conduct safety drills that exceed statutory requirements. In addition to the fire and tornado drills, our staff and students plan and practice for situations where we may need to “secure” (get inside, lock outside doors, increase awareness), “lockdown” (locks, lights, & out of sight), "hold" (in your classroom, clear halls), “evacuate” (to another classroom, area in the school, or to an alternative site). Fire and tornado drills are required by law every month, and twice a year, respectively. Crisis or safety drills are also required in our state, and we perform a minimum of three safety-related drills a year at every school in the District. We call these drills "hold", "secure", "lockdown," “evacuate,” and “shelter.” Your child might not notice, as we use age-appropriate terminology, like “buddy-room drill” in an elementary school to move with purpose (quickly) from a home classroom to a partner classroom--for something like a health emergency or a quick evacuation--or your child might practice coming in from recess really fast or a reverse fire drill (for a problem outside during a drill).
Each of our schools' plan, prepare, and drill for these types of events along with our School Resource Officers and/or the Oak Creek Police Department (OCPD) who supports, observes, tests, and/or advises us on these protocols. We don’t, however, just discuss and train for shelter-in-place situations, our training teaches us that we must consider situations in advance and create action scripts in order to create the preparation in our minds to exercise judgment and make decisions. If a situation should require our staff to evacuate or defend our room--as horrible as that sounds and feels, we’ve considered that possibility in advance. For example, our staff is empowered to evacuate if safety permits and danger is close. We have also worked with FEMA, the OCPD, and the Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association (WSSCA) to audit our protocols. None of these actions are required, but we dedicate time and energy to these practices because we wholeheartedly believe in the values of preparation, resource gathering, and planning.
LINK: Training Video
Our District is committed to providing ongoing training and professional development to our staff and students around high-level safety and security measures and practices. On an alternating yearly schedule, our teaching staff has successfully completed what the Peaceful Warrior (PW) Training Group and the Oak Creek Police Department call "Tier 1 - Prevention & Response" and/or "Tier 2 - Hands-On" Active Threat training. Some of this training is hands-on, resembling self-defense, or martial arts class.
New teachers, as part of their orientation to the District, receive special workshops in verbal de-escalation and school safety preparedness--in addition to the Tier 1 or 2 training provided to the whole district. PW Training Group and OCPD also design custom training for people like front-office administrative assistants, teachers with unique circumstances, or students with special needs. These training sessions are emotional and challenging meetings--very few teachers or office staff ever thought this would be a part of the job when we set out down this road many years ago. Additionally, law enforcement regularly trains in our schools during off-hours and has early access to our buildings every summer.
In 2012 we started equipping our schools with cutting-edge Treat & Go--safety kits--similar to what you’d find in tactical response vehicles. These kits are not widely available, nor often observed elsewhere. You might hear about requiring similar kits through legislation in the wake of a traumatic event, as they contain supplies necessary to render life-saving aid. Once the Treat & Go Kit is purchased, the Oak Creek Fire Department trains our staff on the use of these kits. The kits are updated and inventoried by the building custodial staff. Several PTOs provided funds or fundraised to purchase these kits and some replacement items, as some of the content expires. The district feels it is important to maintain this expense to keep our kits up to date.
By now most have heard the term "Threat Assessment" on television, especially after a traumatic event. We often hear that there should have been a “Threat Assessment” completed. Here in Oak Creek the purpose of the District Threat Assessment team and process is to determine if an individual poses, or may reasonably pose, a threat of violence to self, others, or the Oak Creek community and to intervene to avert the threat and maintain the safety of the situation. The team responds to behaviors exhibited by students prior to a critical incident in an attempt to prevent violence so that the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District remains a safe and secure working and learning environment.
School violence prevention depends on all of us within, the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District community, to notice and refer potentially worrisome behaviors or situations before they result in harm. A person that receives help sooner, rather than later, may be less likely to experience more severe symptoms or cause harm to self or others. Thus, a threat assessment is a supportive process, not a disciplinary or punitive one. The goal is to create what looks like a treatment/care/communication plan.
Our District Threat Assessment Team includes the District Safety Coordinator, Assistant Superintendent, pupil service staff members, and an SRO or other law enforcement representative. This team works with building-specific staff to take a comprehensive look at the needs of a student or staff member to keep them and others safe and out of harm's way. Our District has engaged in this practice for a number of years--which is to our credit as a community. Threat assessments have so much potential value that we have sent several members of our administration and pupil services staff to training provided by the Department of Justice --Office of School Safety.
Please know our staff is ready and available to help students who are fearful or uncomfortable. Please do not hesitate to encourage them to reach out to us so we may help your children through this time. For more information about counseling services, please visit our Student Services webpage.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Department of Public Instruction have launched a program called "Interact!" that gives parents resources to have conversations with their children about internet safety.
Interact is an online e-course created for parents and guardians to complete with their children with the goal of initiating online safety discussions at home. For more information about the Interact program visit: https://dpi.wi.gov/internet-safety/new-interactive-safety-resource-available
As a District, we want to make sure our students with special needs are prepared for any emergency or threat. We have worked with the Oak Creek Police Department (OCPD) to get some things in place in the community. One safety item that you can have for your child is the Special Needs Alert Form. This document is completed by a child’s family and turned into either your special education teacher or directly to the Oak Creek Police Department. It is then used if the OCPD encounters your child in the community. Other police departments can also reach out to the OCPD for information if your child is in another community. This document provides information to help officers assist and communicate with your child more effectively.
During safety month, lessons that are presented to all students include social scripts to help students better understand expectations in an emergency. The student lessons are provided to students with special needs in a small group or one-on-one with their special education teacher and a school counselor, school social worker, or school psychologist as needed.
Within each building’s Safety and Crisis Plan, a child with any special needs or circumstances has an Individual & Emergency Lockdown Plan (IELP). Staff then make any items needed part of their “emergency go bags” that hang in their classroom and go with them in the case of an emergency.
- Dealing with Death, Loss, or Grief
- Dealing with Disasters
- Dealing with Trauma, a Traumatic Event, or Tragedy
- Dealing with Violence
- Dealing with Sexual Abuse or Sexual Behavior Problems
- Miscellaneous Resources
Addressing Grief in Children: Tips for Parents & Educators - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
After a Love One Dies - New York Life Foundation
Guiding Adults in Talking to Children About Death and Attending Services - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Helping Children Cope with Loss, Death, and Grief: Tips for Teachers & Parents - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Helping School-Age Children with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
How to Help a Grieving Teen - The National Center for Grieving Children & Families
Preparing Your Child to Attend the Memorial Service of a Friend - Speak Up, Speak Out Wisconsin (SUSO)
Supporting Your Child after the Death of a Family Member - Coalition to Support Grieving Students
Tips for Supporting The Grieving Teen - The National Center for Grieving Children & Families
Parent Tips for Helping Adolescents After Disasters - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Parent Tips for Helping Preschool-Age Children After Disasters - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Parent Tips for Helping School-Age Children After Disasters - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers - Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
After the Injury - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - contains quick links
Age Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Assisting Parents/Caregivers in Coping with Collective Traumas - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Traumatic Events - National Institute of Mental Health
Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief - Tips for Caregivers - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief - Tips for Caregivers - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
How to Talk to Children About Difficult News - American Psychological Association (APA)
National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope: Tips for Parents and Teachers - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Understanding Child Traumatic Stress - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Coping after Mass Violence - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Coping with Stress Following a Mass Shooting - Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
For Teens - Coping after Mass Violence - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Going Back to School After Tragedy - Child Mind Institute
Helping your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting - American Psychological Association (APA)
Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth after a Recent Shooting - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Supporting Children & Students - Resource Toolkit (links) - Safe and Sound Schools
Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Families and Educators - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Talking to Children about School Shootings - American Psychological Association (APA)
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents & Teachers - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet: For Parents, Teachers, and Other Caregivers - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Understanding and Coping with Sexual Behavior Problems in Children - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
What to Do If Your Child Discloses Sexual Abuse - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Resources Related to Teen Sexual Assault - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSD)
Gratitude Log - Even Now, Especially Now - list to use
Helping Children Cope with Unsettling Times - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Supporting Children's Mental Wellness - Tips for Families and Caregivers - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Talking to Children When Scary Things Happen - Center for Resilience + Well-Being in Schools
SWATTING Calls - provided by the New Jersey State Police Cyber Crimes Unit, the Intelligence and Analysis Threat Unit at the Regional Operations Intelligence Center, the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and the FBI
Within the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District children learn that if they See or Hear Something, SAY SOMETHING. Anyone that learns about concerning or suspicious behaviors needs to speak up and Say Something! Tell a trusted adult or contact the Oak Creek Police Department (OCPD) immediately so we can keep bad things from happening here in Oak Creek. But if someone doesn't feel comfortable talking to a trusted adult or the OCPD you can use the Speak Up, Speak Out-Wisconsin (SUSO) tip line.
IT IS LIFE CHANGING, LIFE SAVING, & CONFIDENTIAL.
Created by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of School Safety (OSS), the SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT Resource Center is a comprehensive, one-stop place to turn with important concerns, offering a Threat Reporting System. The center allows people in Wisconsin to report a tip, and for school administrators, and law enforcement to receive threat assessment consultation, crisis response, and best practices for school safety. Speak Up and Speak Out by reporting a tip when you, a friend, or the community needs help. The SUSO Resource Center will respond confidentially and quickly to make sure we can get help to someone who is struggling or hurting.
Students, parents, school staff, or any community members can submit a school safety concern or threat via the SUSO website. You may also make a report using your smartphone by downloading the SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT app from the Apple Store or Google Play or by calling 1-800-MY-SUSO-1 to speak to a live, trained dispatcher. Text messages will not be received. To place Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) calls, dial 711. Resource center staff work around-the-clock to respond to tips and to deploy a response locally by communicating directly with school administrators, law enforcement, and counselors. The tip form can be automatically translated into many different languages.