The mission of the Office of Safety and Security is to provide a safe and secure environment that is conducive to learning. This is accomplished by taking a holistic, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week approach to student safety. The office is responsible for identifying and addressing safety concerns within schools while partnering with other stakeholders, such as the Chicago Police Department (CPD), to identify risks in the community that could affect the safety of CPS schools and students. This team uses a combination of methods, including prevention, intervention, and enforcement, to proactively address security issues to ensure the safety of CPS students in and out of school.
The department is divided into six teams that manage the safety resources for the district:
Network Safety Team: Manages the overall field safety support structure for each network and school. Every school has an identified point of contact from this team who is accountable for assisting in areas such as safety strategy development, security staff support, and incident investigation and response. Key responsibilities include:
- Working with schools to develop customized school safety plans.
- Training school-based security staff on a trauma-informed approach in supporting students.
- Optimizing school-based security staff performance.
- Partnering with CPD and community stakeholders to support school safety plans inside and outside of schools.
- Conducting positive interventions for at-risk students due to factors including, but not limited to, social media events, environmental concerns, gang concerns, and any other issues that might jeopardize student safety.
- Partnering with the Office of Sports Administration (OSA) to provide security at sporting events across the district.
- Student Safety Services Team: Responsible for the overall operations of the Student Safety Center, the district’s 24/7 command center for safety communications. This team also manages the safety technology strategy and implementation for safety initiatives such as cameras and metal detectors.
- Clinical and Crisis Team: Consists of licensed clinicians who are responsible for helping schools prevent, prepare, respond, and recover from school crises. This team also builds staff capacity to attend to the emotional and psychological well-being of the school community.
- Safe Passage Team: Responsible for the planning and implementation of the district’s Safe Passage program. The program partners with community-based organizations to hire Safe Passage workers to support students as they travel safely to and from school.
- Safety Initiatives and Background Check Team: Responsible for key strategic areas including implementing the CPS district-wide background check process for employees, vendor employees, volunteers, Local School Council members, and charter school partners.
- Safety Operations Team: Responsible for ensuring all schools and staff have met district safety standards for school safety integrity, including conducting safety audits and emergency preparedness. The team oversees school preparedness for emergencies that include fire, tornado, and active shooter, by training and supporting schools to conduct emergency drills. Safety Operations also provides real-time support in the event of a true emergency.
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