School Safety

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The safety of students, staff members and visitors to our facilities is a top priority in the School District of Pickens County. We always emphasize the importance of safety consciousness to our staff members. We receive tremendous support from our local law enforcement and emergency preparedness personnel, and we work continuously with these agencies to facilitate even better communication and coordination.

Fire and tornado safety drills are conducted on a regular basis in all schools. Lock-down drills to practice securing a school building are also practiced periodically. During the school day, our schools’ exterior doors remain closed and locked, and classrooms doors remain closed while classes are in session.

Visiting Our Schools

To keep students and staff safe, SDPC requires each visitor, volunteer, and vendor to enter through the school’s office, show his/her picture ID, and sign into Raptor, a computerized program used in all schools. 

Prior to entering the hallways, each visitor will receive a Raptor badge to wear while in our schools. The Raptor badge must be visible at all times. Each visitor is also asked to return to the main office and sign out of Raptor before leaving.

By using these standardized procedures, school personnel know at all times who is on campus and the purpose of the visits, thereby enhancing safety of our schools.

Parents are always welcome but are encouraged to make an appointment to see a teacher or the principal.

Parents, volunteers, or other visitors to the school are not to interfere with the supervisory or instructional responsibilities of the teachers.

Friends of students or students from other schools are not allowed to visit the school during the school day unless approved by the principal at or before checking in at the main office.

Visitors on campus who do not check in at the main office will be considered as trespassing. The administration is empowered to take appropriate action against non-students who invade the building, grounds or other school property. Such action will include the right to call in the police authorities and swear out warrants.

Smoke-Free Facilities

Tobacco-Free Facilities/Possession & Use of Tobacco – Policy JICG

Purpose: To establish the basic structure for the board's prohibition of tobacco use by students.

The district does not allow students to use or to possess tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia. This restriction applies while students are on school grounds, in the school buildings, on buses, or during any other time they are under the direct administrative jurisdiction of the school, whether on or off the school grounds.

Goal
The goal of this policy is to provide a 100 percent tobacco-free, smoke-free environment for all students, staff, contract or other workers, and visitors within all district facilities, vehicles, and grounds. This includes any building, facility and vehicle owned, leased, rented, or chartered by the district. The goal applies to all school-sponsored or school-related events on or off the school grounds. The district commits to the following:
• exhibiting healthy behavior for all students, staff, contract or other workers, visitors, and the entire community
• utilizing a proven and effective science-based tobacco use prevention curricula
• providing access to cessation counseling or referral services for all students and staff

Procedures

• Prohibit the use and/or possession of all tobacco products or paraphernalia including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, and alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes by all students, staff, contract or other workers, and visitors.
• Ensure that tobacco use prevention programs as recommended by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, and the South Carolina Department of Education are an integral part of district substance abuse prevention efforts.
• Provide and/or refer to cessation services for students and staff.

Enforcement
The district will enforce this policy by determining appropriate disciplinary actions for students violating this policy such as the following:
• parent/legal guardian/administrator conferences
• mandatory enrollment in a tobacco prevention education
• community service
• in-school suspension
• out-of-school suspension
• suspension from extracurricular activities
School administrators will develop procedures consistent with the discipline code of this district in order to enforce this policy (see JICDA-R, Level 2, unauthorized substances).

Education and Assistance
The district will be responsible for utilizing proven and effective tobacco use prevention curricula to educate all students and providing appropriate counseling and/or referral services for students.

Tobacco Industry Marketing or Sponsorship
The district will not accept any contributions or gifts, money, or materials from the tobacco industry. The district will not participate in any type of services that are funded by the tobacco industry. In addition, any gear, paraphernalia, clothing, etc., that advertises tobacco use or tobacco products will not be allowed on district grounds or in the possession of faculty, staff, contract, or other workers, or students at district-sponsored events.

 
School-Related Laws

The laws set forth in this handbook are published because they are commonly enforced on school premises or at school-related activities. However, there are many other laws, both state and federal, as well as municipal and/or county ordinances which have full force and effect on students and/or others who are on school premises. Anyone who is on school property is subject to those laws and ordinances as well.

§ 16-17-420. Disturbing schools
It is unlawful for a person who is not a student to wilfully or unnecessarily to interfere with, disrupt, or disturb the normal operations of a school or college in this State by: entering upon school or college grounds or property without the permission of the principal or president in charge; loitering upon or about school or college grounds or property, after notice is given to vacate the grounds or property and after having reasonable opportunity to vacate; initiating a physical assault on, or fighting with, another person on school or college grounds or property; being loud or boisterous on school or college grounds or property after instruction by school or college personnel to refrain from the conduct; threatening physical harm to a student or a school or college employee while on school or college grounds or property; or threatening the use of deadly force on school or college property or involving school or college grounds or property when the person has the present ability, or is reasonable believed to have the present ability, to carry out the threat.
For the purpose of this section, “person who is not a student means a person who is not enrolled in, or who is suspended or expelled from, the school or college that the person interferes with, disrupts, or disturbs at the time the interference, disruption, or disturbance occurs.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.


§ 16-17-425. Student Threats
It is unlawful for a student of a school or college in this State to make threats to take the life of or to inflict bodily harm upon another by using any form of communication whatsoever. Nothing contained in this section may be construed to repeal, replace, or preclude application of any other criminal statute.

§16-3-1040. Threatening life, person or family of public official
It is unlawful for any person to knowingly and willfully deliver or convey to a public official or to a teacher or principal of an elementary or secondary school any letter or paper, writing, print, missive, document, or electronic communication or any verbal or electronic communication which contains any threat to take the life of or to inflict bodily harm upon the public official, teacher, or principal, or members of their immediate families.

§16-17-510. Enticing enrolled child from attendance in public school
It is unlawful for a person to encourage, entice, or conspire to encourage or entice any child enrolled in the public elementary or secondary schools of this State from attendance in such public school or school program or transports or provides transportation in aid to encourage or entice a child rom attendance in public school or school program. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both, for a first offense; $1,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both, for a second and subsequent offense.

§59-63-1110. Consent to search person or his effects
Any person entering the premises of any school in this State shall be deemed to have consented to a reasonable search of his person and effects.

§59-63-1120. Searches by school administrators or officials with or without probable cause
School administrators and officials may conduct reasonable searches on school property of lockers, desks, vehicles, and personal belongings such as purses, book bags, wallets, and satchels with or without probable cause.

§59-67-245. Interference with operation of school bus; penalties
No person shall wilfully and wrongfully interfere with the operation of a school bus, either public or private, by boarding, restricting movement or using threats, either physical or verbal, to the driver or any passenger while the bus is engaged in the transportation of pupils to and from school or any lawful school activity or while passengers are entering or leaving the bus nor shall any person wilfully fail or refuse to obey a lawful order of a school bus driver relating to the occupancy of a school bus. The use of threatening, obscene or profane language addressed to the driver or any passenger entering, leaving or waiting for a school bus is disorderly conduct and any person convicted for the use of such language shall be punished as provided in Section 16-17-530. Nothing contained herein shall be interpreted to infringe upon the power and duties of duly constituted authorities.

§59-67-415. Parental responsibility for safe and timely arrival of children to and from bus stop
Parents or guardians are responsible for the safety, conduct, and the timely arrival of their children to, from, and at the designated school bus stop before the arrival of the school bus for pick up and transport to school and the timely departure of the children after the school bus leaves the designated school bus stop after transporting the children from school. For purposes of this section, the phrase "arrival of the school bus" includes the time that the school bus assigned to the school bus stop activates the required pedestrian safety devices, stops, and loads or unloads students until the school bus deactivates all pedestrian safety devices.

School Resource Officers

Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, SDPC will have a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) in every school.

School Resource Officers play a key role in assisting school administrators in the maintenance of peace and good order on school campuses and strive to enhance school safety at the building level. In addition, they serve as positive role models for students and assist school faculties and staff by providing instruction to students in law-related subjects.

Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance Cameras – Policy ECAF

The district believes that safeguarding the welfare of its students, employees and visitors and deterring acts of violence, harassment, vandalism or theft are of the utmost importance. In order to enhance the safety and security of district schools, students, employees and visitors, the district has installed surveillance cameras at designated school locations. The district plans to use the footage from these cameras to deter individuals from violating school rules and to assist in the identification of individuals who engage in these actions.

The district respects the privacy of all individuals who enter district property and believes that this policy will balance that privacy concern against safety needs of students, staff and visitors. The conduct of surveillance monitoring or recording and the use of surveillance cameras in the district are limited to uses that do not violate federal or state constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure or other applicable laws, including federal and state laws prohibiting wiretapping and electronic surveillance or aural communications.

Images obtained through surveillance monitoring or recording will be retained a minimum of 30 days by the district, unless such images have historical value, or are being used for an investigation of a particular incident or as part of a potential claim against the district. Such videos will be maintained for as long as necessary, as determined by the district.

District staff will determine the location of cameras. Cameras may be installed in places where the security of either property or people will be enhanced. Cameras will be placed districtwide, inside and outside of buildings and will be limited to those locations that do not violate individuals’ reasonable expectations of privacy. No view will be greater than what is available with unaided vision. Surveillance cameras may record or monitor sound.

Students, parents/legal guardians and employees will be reminded annually that surveillance cameras are in use.

Only individuals with a legitimate educational or law enforcement-related interest will have access to surveillance camera footage. The individuals who have a legitimate educational or law enforcement-related interest will vary from situation to situation.

The district does not consider surveillance camera footage to be directory information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The district considers surveillance video footage to be a part of the educational record of the students who are the main focus of the video. The footage is not part of the educational record of students in the background or those who do not play a central role in the action being reviewed. The district retains the discretion to deny any person the right to watch a video.

The district may use surveillance video footage in disciplinary proceedings against students or may release footage to appropriate law enforcement authorities. If the district intends to use footage in a disciplinary proceeding, the district will notify the student’s parents/legal guardians and provide them a reasonable opportunity to view the video prior to the proceeding.

Any person who tampers with or destroys a video surveillance camera, equipment or any part of the video surveillance system may be disciplined in accordance with board policy and/or applicable state, federal or local law. Any employee who violates the terms of this policy or otherwise misuses a video camera will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. Any student who violates the terms of this policy or otherwise misuses a video camera will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the district’s behavior code. Violations of the laws of the United States or the state of South Carolina may also be subject to criminal prosecution.

Any person who has reason to believe that a video camera is being used in violation of this policy, or in an otherwise improper manner, should immediately notify the principal/supervisor of the school. That individual will investigate the allegations and take appropriate remedial or disciplinary actions as necessary.

This policy does not apply to video cameras, digital cameras, webcams, etc., being utilized for reasons unrelated to surveillance activity or to cameras used covertly by law enforcement officers for criminal surveillance in accordance with South Carolina law.