Rita Ann Ezzai Reznick, Florence Unified School District
Several new safety initiatives will be implemented this year at all Florence Unified School District schools.
“See Something, Say Something” is a safety campaign that incorporates the use of an anonymous tip line. Using the tip line, students can report something anonymously when they are not able to discreetly access a safe or trusted adult.
Students can report on a variety of issues such as bullying (in person or online), vandalism, fighting, verbal or physical threats, dangerous weapons on campus or illegal substances, just to name a few.
FUSD has created a business card that will be distributed to each student along with posters that will be displayed throughout each school campus with instructions on how students can file a report.
A student can scan a QR code on either the poster or the business card, which will enable them to immediately report suspicious activity or file a tip.
A report can also be filed through an online form found in the “I want to” section located in the top right corner of a school’s website.
The “See Something, Say Something” safety initiative allows students to develop a sense of responsibility toward their peers and their school community. This means actively looking out for each other and reporting any suspicious activity they observe. Reporting such activities through the tip line to school authorities or designated staff members ensures that potential threats are addressed promptly and effectively. It is important to remember that no piece of information is too small or insignificant when it comes to maintaining a safe environment.
Another safety measure the district is adding this year is a direct link between school camera systems and law enforcement. This will enable an employee to send emergency alerts by simply pressing a button that will allow law enforcement to tap into a school’s camera system and view threats in real time. This feature will only be used in an emergency such as an unauthorized individual or individuals gaining access to a school campus.
Another layer of the safety involves lockdown and active-shooter training that will be provided to all FUSD staff in conjunction with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
District leadership and administrative teams have received training in crisis management and have participated in table-top exercises that guide them through an emergency. This training helps leaders work through several types of emergencies to help them stay ever more vigilant and prepared.
Another aspect of the FUSD safety campaign is to reduce unauthorized and unknown visitors to school campuses. Delivery services on all campuses, which include but are not limited to food deliveries to students from independent or commercial businesses, are no longer permitted.
A parent or guardian on record, however, may drop off food for a student after registering with a school’s front desk staff member. While district leaders realize this change may make some unhappy, it is an important way of keeping campuses secure and safe. This change is in accordance with recommendations provided by school-safety experts.
FUSD will continue to evaluate safety initiatives and find ways to improve our methods and strategies.
The district is also addressing the importance of attendance. Consistent attendance is essential for students to actively engage in classroom instruction, participate in discussions, complete assignments, and build upon their knowledge over time.
When students are absent, they may miss important content, explanations and interactions with teachers and other students. This can result in learning gaps and difficulties in catching up with the material.
Even a few sporadic absences throughout the year can hinder a student’s progress. Additionally, some subjects or topics may be more challenging to grasp independently, making it harder for students to fill in the gaps on their own.
If a student needs to miss school due to unavoidable circumstances, it is beneficial to communicate with teachers, make up missed work and seek additional support if necessary.
Rita Ann Ezzai Reznick is the director of public relations for the Florence Unified School District.