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

All persons -- students, faculty/staff members, administrators, visitors or patrons -- are prohibited from using tobacco products and alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes in any district building or vehicle or on any district grounds. The superintendent or his/her designee will create the necessary rules and regulations to enforce this policy.

This “tobacco-free” designation applies not only to normal school/office hours but also to any extracurricular, before or after school, or any unscheduled activity or event.

Students are not permitted to use, possess or transfer tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia while on school grounds, in the school buildings, on buses, or during any other time that students are under the direct administrative/jurisdiction of the school whether on or off the school grounds. Students who violate this policy will be disciplined as provided in administrative rule JICG-R.

 
School Resource Officers

In 2017, the School District of Pickens County expanded its School Resource Officer (SRO) program to all of our schools in the interest of safety. This means that a uniformed law enforcement officer is present in every school every day.

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.