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School safety: A multi-layered approach in place to protect students and staff

Anoka-Hennepin Schools utilizes a multi-layered approach to protect the safety of students and staff. At the core of this effort are relationships that form a positive school culture and climate, a system to support students and a focus on academic success. Structural and physical systems and use of technology and clear communication also play a significant role.infographic describing key safety terms (listed in article): LockOUT, LockDOWN, evacuate, shelter, and hold

The district prepares to maintain safety through an emergency management plan that coordinates facility design, procedures and training, law enforcement partnerships, and parent/guardian communication.  Anoka-Hennepin has invested in a digital radio system to coordinate a response during emergencies along with a visitor management system that identifies a single point of entry to school buildings and requires proper identification for entry during the school day. 

The district maintains relationships with local law enforcement and coordinates school resource police officers at 12 schools. Tim Fournier serves as manager of security and emergency operations for the Anoka-Hennepin School District. Fournier is an experienced law enforcement leader having served as a police chief, commanding officer and officer for the City of New Hope. Along with a team of school leaders, Fournier leads planning and facilitation for preparedness drills in the event of fire, lockdown, weather and other emergency situations. 

Know the terminology for safety procedures

In the event of an emergency or law enforcement presence, Anoka-Hennepin schools use common terminology and procedures in cooperation with local law enforcement departments. This terminology is posted in classrooms across the district. 

  • LOCKOUT: When a possible threat exists OUTSIDE the building, exterior doors are locked.

    • All students remain safe inside, visitors denied entry.

    • Normal school day activities continue.

  • LOCKDOWN: When a possible threat exists INSIDE the building, interior doors are locked.

    • Students are moved out of sight and maintain quiet.

  • Evacuate is a term that may be used when a threat is INSIDE the building, occupants are to be evacuated quickly.

  • Shelter is a term that may be used during a weather, hazardous material situation or similar event, occupants should seek nearest shelter.

  • Hold is a term used during a medical emergency or similar incident, hallways are cleared and doors closed until the incident is resolved.

This terminology follows guidance from the Minnesota School Safety Center and is used in consultation with law enforcement officials. These terms may differ from phrases commonly used in media reports. While these events are rare, each building conducts regular drills and training. In the event of an emergency, the district will communicate the actions being taken with parents and families via phone, text, email and/or other appropriate methods.