In Lexington District One administrators and representatives from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Lexington Police Department and the Pelion Police Department meet monthly to discuss issues related to school and community safety. The district has always worked closely with those law enforcement agencies to address our school communities’ needs regarding the safety of our schools and has School Resource Officers at all middle and high schools, FOCUS and the Lexington Technology Center. Officers are in elementary schools for several hours each day.
The district also has a Director of Safety and Emergency Services, a full-time hearing officer and a district-level safety team.
In addition, each school has a safety team and a detailed school safety plan. We continue to review these plans annually in an effort to eliminate any oversights and to provide continuity throughout our schools.
Our schools are just like the rest of the world. From time to time, something out of the ordinary happens — a student brings a weapon or drugs to school or a student threatens himself or another individual.
For that reason, each school has a comprehensive visitor check-in and check-out system located at the front desk in all schools designed to help ensure that no unauthorized person enters. This system runs an automated check on each visitor against a list of registered sex offenders every time he or she visits.
Each visitor must check in and out when in a school, regardless of the time of day, and all visitors and volunteers must wear their name badges in plain sight at all times while on school grounds or at school-related events or activities.
All schools’ front entrances are secure entrances. When someone enters a school with a secure entrance, that person must go through the school’s front office and is unable to enter the school without going through that office.
The district also has:
telephones in every classroom, including portables.
security cameras at each school and on school buses that record not only video but audio.
after-school programs or safe havens at most of our elementary schools.
The district has a suicide prevention policy, Policy JLDBB Suicide Prevention. It requires that all secondary certified staff, school counselors, school social workers and psychologists be trained in suicide prevention. The training helps staff recognize early warning signals and gives them steps to take if they have concerns about a student.
Additionally, the district has established suicide risk assessment procedures. School counselors and school psychologists have been trained to use a suicide risk assessment checklist to access students, who have either verbally or otherwise expressed suicidal thoughts. This process may include a re-entry plan meeting with the student and parent.
The district also has a grief and loss crisis response checklist, and resources are also provided to teachers and staff when they are handling grief and loss situations.
The district also reminds parents and staff how important it is to maintain open communication with children — about what they are seeing on television, about how they deal with anger and frustration, and about their relationships with other students. If parents feel free to talk with administrators and staff about their children’s problems and budding disputes within the student body, it goes a long way toward defusing tensions within the school.
The district also reminds students that they have an obligation to themselves and to their classmates to bring information about dangerous situations to adults at the school so that we can respond quickly and appropriately to protect their safety. (The safety and well-being of their friends and classmates are more important than the issue of tattling or “narcing.”)
Parents and students can help make our schools safer, too, by not passing along the rumors they hear to their neighbors or friends; but, instead, reporting them to a school administrator who will then investigate and turn it over to the police, if necessary.
Our staff, students and parents have several tip lines they can use to report crimes anonymously. The district’s Tip Line telephone number is 803-821-1232 and the Midlands Crimestoppers telephone number is 1-888-274-6372.
Lexington District One’s highest priority is the the safety of students and staff.
In accordance with state law, the school district must provide a link to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s sex offender registry.