At Escuela Valdez, the safety of our students is our primary concern and we foster a positive attitude towards safety in our student culture. Our building is located in a very urban area, in close proximity to the busiest interstate corridor in the region. It is natural that in a densely populated area, crimes will occur.
If there is ever an impending threat in a nearby neighborhood, Denver Public Schools Security may choose to place our school on a Lock Out or Lock Down status as a precautionary measure. Understanding what this means for our students and staff is important. We all own parts of our safety plan, including families of students. Having to ring a doorbell to get into the school or use a parking permit can feel like an inconvenience, but it all plays a part in a greater picture of safety. Staff and students practice these procedures twice a year. Here are some important details:
1 – If the school is placed on a lock out or lock down, staff and students are alerted via an overhead announcement. This announcement is made by DPS Security, from a remote location. We are not notified in advance, we are alerted as the situation arises. We do not respond to media reports, but are held accountable to DPS Security as they work with Denver Police Department to make the judgment call and invoke this status for our school.
2 – We immediately follow procedures necessary to keep your student safe. During this instance, each staff member is assigned a duty which they are obligated to fulfill as part of a school safety plan. Unfortunately, we are unable to send individual updates during this time. Our primary goal is the safety of students.
3 – We are not typically given any details regarding the cause for the Lock Out or Lock Down. In these emergency situations, we rely on Denver Public Schools Security to keep parents informed. At times, we will hear additional details via the local media. But please keep in mind that local media outlets sometimes report facts inaccurately.
4 – If we are given any details on the event, we can share them with you after the instance has been resolved and normal activity has resumed. This is typically done via social media, simply because it is the most nimble and easiest for staff to access. You may follow Escuela Valdez via Facebook and can select to receive notifications.
What is the difference between a Lock Out and a Lock Down?
*No one leaves the building
*No one enters the building
*Business as usual on the inside
During a Lock Out, the perceived danger is outside of the school. Staff move all students and activities inside and ensure the perimeter of the building is secured. While there is a heightened situational awareness during a Lock Out, this status allows for business as usual during the school day.
*Move out of sight
*Lock doors and turn off lights
*Wait for a responder to open the door
During a Lock Down situation, the perceived danger is inside the building. When a Lock Down is announced, classroom doors are locked, lights are turned off, and students are moved away from windows and doors. We wait for law enforcement to give the all clear.