Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 collaborated with nearby districts and first responders Wednesday in their 16th annual First Responders Meeting, highlighting school and community safety efforts.
Joined by School Districts 122 and 229, the event is part of an ongoing commitment to community engagement and safety.
"These meetings play a critical role in community engagement and emphasize collaboration around safety best practices," said Paul Enderle, Superintendent of District 123.
State legislation requires Illinois public school districts to host these yearly meetings, strengthening community safety initiatives and fostering relationships between schools and safety agencies. This year, the districts highlighted their latest safety protocols and measures.
District 123 spotlighted its Security Vulnerability Audit (SVA) Process, designed to pinpoint risks and recommend mitigation strategies. It's also adopted the EdPlan BTA/SVA system, a behavioral monitoring tool, and trained its staff in the "Escape, Barricade, Resist, Survive" approach, which provides staff members an options-based approach to active shooter events. The district also unveiled Clear Armor at main entrances and announced a "Family University on School Safety" event for Sept. 27.
Halo Sensors and the SmartPass hall pass system were Ridgeland District 122's highlighted safety initiatives, targeting unauthorized gatherings and restroom misuse. Superintendent Joseph Matise additionally shared information on Simmons Middle School’s new cell phone policy to reduce classroom distractions.
Meanwhile, Oak Lawn Community High School District 229 Superintendent Shahe Bagdasarian emphasized its recent security audit and partnership with Threat Assessment Executives. The district improved its camera surveillance, introduced Digital IDs through the 5Star Student system, and added sun shields to its visitor entrances. Its staff also received reunification training, with efforts to enhance plans among all three districts.
The Oak Lawn Police and Fire Departments briefed attendees, numbering around 50 community stakeholders, on their updated MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) models for mass casualties. They also showcased new technologies, including drones and license plate-reading cameras.
The annual meeting underscores Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123's and the surrounding community's unwavering commitment to ensuring its students' and residents' safety and well-being.