Safety & Security
At Rochester Community Schools, safety is always our priority. We realize that safety is not always convenient, but we are committed to doing everything within our control to protect our students, staff and guests.
One of our best defenses continues to be the strong relationships and trust that have been cultivated between students, staff, and our community partners. Students are encouraged to talk with a trusted adult if they see, hear, or experience something that doesn't seem right. Community members can also report information using the Talk to RCS feature on our website or anonymously using Michigan's student safety program, OK2SAY.
Over the past decade, significant improvements have been made to enhance security, thanks to our strong partnerships, the community’s investment in our schools, and a strategic plan that is student-centered.
Many of our families may not remember a time when our special education Adult Transition Programs and Services (ATPS) had temporary housing at Adams High School or when the district was renting space to accommodate classes for the Rochester Adult Center for Education (RACE) program. A decade ago, we had a total of six video cameras for the entire district and 10 portable classrooms that supported preschool programs and some of our school-age care programs. Although schools had visitor entry processes in place, they were not always consistent across the district.
We are grateful for the overwhelming support of the greater Rochester community, which enabled us to make an investment through recent bond and sinking fund programs to enhance safety and security districtwide—a priority in the RCS strategic plan.
Today, main building entrances across the district have two sets of vestibule doors, along with a door to the office that provides staff with a better visitor verification system and building lockdown capabilities. More than 1,500 video surveillance cameras have been installed in the schools and on buses. Locks that latch from the interior side of the classroom door have been added, and an updated districtwide telephone system, radio, and PA system ensure proper notification and warning during an emergency. The Dr. John M. Schultz Educational Campus received a 30,000 sq. ft. addition to provide a high-quality, supportive learning environment for ATPS and RACE students. And preschool programs were integrated into our school buildings following significant renovations to elementary structures.
Each school within our district has a designated Critical Incident Team that includes administrators, teachers, counselors, secretaries, support staff, and security personnel. These teams assist during emergency situations; discuss building safety and security; and provide support when carrying out yearly mandated drills.
The district remains grateful for our community partners who work with us to protect and serve our community. We meet regularly with liaison officers from the Rochester Police Department and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, along with our security consultants at Safe-Ed., to learn about opportunities to enhance daily operating procedures for student safety and school security.
Recent results from our collaborative efforts include the creation of new lockdown training videos for all staff and students; installation of Knox boxes (small wall-mounted boxes that hold building keys) for fire and law enforcement personnel; distribution of master keys to local law enforcement and liaison officers; installation of Stop the Bleed® kits in all buildings; restocking of “Go bags” designed to carry emergency gear and student information; and identification and support of staff training opportunities.
Our law enforcement partners support staff training opportunities for multiple scenarios, which include: medical emergencies, lockdown/shelter in place, aggressive intruder, fire/evacuation, natural disasters and weather-related emergencies. They also assist our school nurse to ensure personnel are trained in CPR/AED and EpiPen use, as well as the use of tourniquets, which aligns with the American College of Surgeons Stop the Bleed® program.
Following the tragic events in a neighboring district, a team from Secure Education Consultants (SEC) toured every building across the district to determine additional opportunities to enhance security. This team is comprised of staff with prior U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, military, police, fire, and education experience. Implemented recommendations include updating maps for all district buildings; adding numbers to all exterior building doors; and reviewing and modifying entrance and exit procedures. Further recommendations are currently under review.
The Oakland County Tactical Training Consortium, also known as OAK-TAC, is an organization established by our local sheriff and police departments to provide for the common goal of training law enforcement personnel in multiple jurisdictions and ensure standardization of communications, training and tactical techniques. As we continue to prioritize school safety and security in RCS and across the county, a district administrator can bring a unique perspective to aid in the discussions. We are honored that RCS Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaner has been invited to serve as a member of the OAK-TAC consortium, taking into consideration his background as a police officer, high-school administrator and superintendent.
We are also pleased to announce that the Rochester Hills City Council approved the RCS police liaison budget for the 2022-23 school year, which includes the addition of a new Oakland County Sheriff's Office detective sergeant for our district. The detective sergeant position is a 12-month commitment specific to Rochester Community Schools and is funded through the safety grant.
- How does the district enhance school security for students, staff and guests?
- What safety procedures are in place?
- Are public safety officials present in our schools?
- Does the district conduct emergency drills?
- What type of safety training is provided for staff?
- Does the district have formal emergency operations plans?
- As a parent/caregiver, how can I help?
Michigan Public Act 12 of 2014 modified the frequency and recording requirements for school safety drills and is effective July 1, 2014.
Under the requirements, any K-12 school must conduct the following drills annually:
- Five fire drills per school year with a reasonable interval between each drill. Three must be completed by December 1.
- Two tornado drills per school year. At least one must be completed during the month of March.
- Three lockdown/shelter-in-place drills, where the occupants are restricted to the interior of the building. At least one drill must be completed before December 1, and another completed after January 1.
At least one of the drills is required to be conducted during a lunch, recess, or at another time when a significant number of students are gathered but not in the classroom.
The Act also requires school officials to document completed safety drills on the school's website within five days of completing the drill and maintain this information on the website for at least three years. A copy of each completed school's drill is posted in the school folder below.