Safe and Welcoming
Safe, supportive and welcoming schools play a pivotal role in ensuring students are engaged in learning and that nothing hinders their ability to achieve their best in the classroom.
Duluth Public Schools works to engage parents, families, and our community because these relationships enhance a meaningful learning environment for our students and provide a stronger community for us all. We are committed to providing safe, welcoming environments where the uniqueness of each person is honored, respected and valued, recognizing that we all come from many different circumstances and cultures. It is in this spirit that we embrace high expectations of ourselves, our staff, and our students.
When students, staff and parents feel accepted and comfortable in the learning environment, everyone does better.
Duluth Public Schools works to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as an approach for helping schools select and organize evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances social behavior outcomes for all students.
Duluth Public Schools' bullying and harassment policies and procedures are reviewed annually and include staff training. Bullying or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated at Duluth Public Schools. Find more information on our bullying policy and how to report an incident on our bullying page.
Over the past several years we have seen a dramatic increase in school violence and school shootings. As the experts analyze these horrific events it is apparent that we need to do more, not only taking steps in an attempt to prevent the event from occurring but training of students and staff on procedures that we all need to survive an active shooter in our schools.
If you look at what has occurred in our schools and colleges throughout the country it is evident that if an armed intruder wants to get into any school building, there is a good chance that they probably will succeed. The fact is, even though the Duluth Public Schools has taken great steps in the matter of securing our school buildings, i.e. installing monitored entry systems and installing additional cameras throughout our school buildings, one question still needs to be answered. What if?
Duluth Public Schools has adopted and implemented ALICE district-wide. The district held a two-day training in 2022 to certify over 40 staff members who then trained all staff members throughout the district to make sure we are prepared if something were to happen in any of our schools.
The philosophy of ALICE is to use technology and information in a way so that staff and students can make informed decisions in a crisis, remove as many people as possible from the danger zone, and provide realistic training so that those involved have a better chance of surviving.
In short, using the above ALICE method we will teach our students and staff multiple tools to use in order to evade an armed intruder/active shooter/killer who enters our school, including:
- Listen carefully to the location and type of event.
- Get to and/or remain in a secure area until it is safe to evacuate.
- Should an armed intruder/active shooter invade their area, apply skills to Distract, Confuse and Gain Control.
- As soon as it is safe to do so, Evacuate.
Please understand, in NO WAY are we asking or teaching our students or staff to make any attempt to subdue an armed gunman outside of their secure area. However, we will provide them the knowledge that if faced with a life or death situation there are methods that can be applied to greatly enhance their chance of survival. The methods that will be taught in the event an armed gunman directly confronts them are:
- Cause distractions to interfere with the ability to shoot accurately
- Cause as much chaos in the room as possible to create sensory overload
- Do not be a stationary target
- How to control the attacker using body weight, not strength (not for younger children)
- How to interact with responding Law Enforcement
Younger students need constant reminders of safe practices (much like you may already do for ‘stranger danger’), in order for them to make good decisions related to their personal safety. Parents can prepare their child(ren) for the ALICE plan by helping them understand the following objectives at home:
- There are people, of all ages, color, and types that can be mean and may wish them harm.
- Self-confidence comes from trying things that are hard and getting better each time.
- There are many solutions and options when faced with a problem.
- When your child is prepared for difficult situations they can make informed decisions and will have more self-control.
- Your child is smart and capable if they have the tools.
- Help your child identify and assess possible crisis situations.
- Have your child demonstrate the ability to get away from someone who has their hands on them. (Stranger Danger)
- Have your child explain the different safety drills and what they mean. (Fire, Tornado, Evacuation, Lockdown, Shelter in Place, and ALICE)
- Help your child name where they need to go in case of evacuation.
- Discuss the importance of following the teacher’s directions without hesitation.
Training emphasizes that the best way to survive an active shooter is to escape. When that is not possible, being mentally prepared and having been given the authority and ability to act will save lives.
Please contact the principal at your child’s school with any questions or concerns. Duluth Public Schools will continue to put your child’s safety as our top priority.