The safety and security of all Johnson City Schools students and staff is our highest priority. Using lessons learned from past school emergency situations, JCS officials and area first responders implement safety measures and Emergency Operations Plans. By having plans in place to keep students and staff safe, schools play a bigger role than ever in the prevention, response, and recovery of emergency situations.
School Safety Mission Statement
Johnson City Schools is committed to creating safe, secure, and respectful learning environments where all community members work together to promote both the physical and psychological safety of students and staff.
Physical safety includes measures such as preparedness planning, visitor check-in, and identification badges, video surveillance, and practice drills to prepare for a host of potential incidents. District and school emergency operation plans are aligned with the recommendations from state guidelines, the office of Homeland Security, and local emergency responders.
Psychological safety provides for the social-emotional well-being of students and works to create positive school climates through measures such as bullying prevention, mental health awareness, threat assessment, restorative practices, and early identification and intervention for at-risk students. We work closely with Frontier Health to provide our student’s accessibility to an on-site mental health specialist.
While school officials and law enforcement are constantly working to protect our schools, it is a community effort to make sure we keep our students safe. The public can help by sending an anonymous tip to the Johnson City Police Department via text message by texting the code "423JCPD" along with your tip to phone number 847411 (TIP411).
The Tennessee Department of Homeland Security has also developed an anonymous tip app called SafeTN. SafeTN is a secure, open-door communications platform where you can send in tips and access resources to help keep your school and community safe. For more information or to download the app, please click here.
The Johnson City School Resource Officer Unit is comprised of 14 sworn Johnson City Police Officers who are assigned full time to the Johnson City Schools. The School Resource Officer Unit is supervised by Officer in Charge Lorrie Goff, who is in charge of the SRO's (grades 7 thru 12), and Officer in Charge Kenny Willis, who is in charge of all elementary school SRO's (grades K-6).
Johnson City Schools use an application called School Messenger in order to send out emergency or weather related notifications. It is important that schools have the most up-to-date phone numbers and contact methods in order to insure that parents receive important information. That information can be updated through the school. Please contact your school for further instructions.
What is an emergency?
An emergency is a sudden, unexpected, or potentially dangerous situation that requires immediate action. The response to any situation depends on the possible impact it may have on the people or facilities involved.
When parents/guardians learn of a situation at a school, their first reaction may be to rush to the site to pick up their child. We understand that reaction, however, when numerous parents arrive at the same time, growing demands on access to the school and students can negatively impact both the ingress or response from law enforcement and supporting agencies.
Johnson City Schools will communicate as frequently as possible (through SchoolMessenger and social media - @JCityTNSchools) with parents/guardians to keep them informed during an emergency situation. Here are some tips for caregivers when an emergency occurs on or near a Johnson City Schools campus.
- Monitor your mobile device for SchoolMessenger messages.
- Check the JC Schools website and social media for updated information.
- In case of an evacuation to a second location, wait for communication from the school or district to which location your child’s campus will evacuate.
Other Emergency Tips
- Do not call the school and try to keep cellular network usage at a minimum for a clear pathway for emergency communication.
- Keep your mobile devices with you to receive message from the school and/or district
- The process may seem chaotic; however, district and school staff have trained and practiced for such eventualities
- The complete process in an emergency situation may take time and requires all stakeholder support for safety reasons of all students and staff.
- Remember that during certain emergency situations, such as a Hard Lockdown (see below), all school business will cease until the threat has been cleared.
There are two types of lockdowns in the Johnson City School System:
- Soft Lockdown (parents will not be notified, unless extenuating circumstances)
- A soft lockdown is implemented when no imminent threat is detected and the soft lockdown is initiated for situations including medical emergencies or if there is an incident in the area (i.e. burglary or police investigation) that does not directly affect the school.
- During a soft lockdown, students stay in the classroom with normal teaching occurring, but no one is allowed in or out of the building. We can modify a soft lockdown at any time based on information and or circumstances. School administration will communicate any modifications to faculty, staff and students. Typically, parents are not notified for soft lockdowns, however, during some extenuating circumstances, parents may be notified.
- Hard Lockdown (parents will be notified in a timely fashion)
- A hard lockdown is implemented only when there is an imminent threat to the schools and parents are notified via Messenger. While parents will be notified, it may not be immediate, as the initial concern is making sure that the school is secure. During a hard lockdown, everything stops in the building, instruction is stopped, classrooms are locked, students are removed from the hallways and there is no movement in the building.
Each school has an evacuation plan and site that they will initiate if there has been a traumatic situation or a facilities issue at the school. Parents will be notified with instructions through School Messenger.
Threats to students or self
Any student that makes a threat against the school, others or themselves will have a three-prong approach that includes a mental evaluation, potential legal consequences, and school discipline.
Johnson City Schools uses the OLWEUS definition for bullying, which is “bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself.”
To view the Board of Education policy 6.304, click here.
Link for school drills and exercises here.
Link for school reunification form here.