Safety and security in our schools

The safety of our students, staff and visitors is the highest priority of Tacoma Public Schools. 

Thanks to your continued support of our bonds and levies, we can invest in safety improvements in all our schools: 

  • Controlled access (buzz-in systems) at school entries for single-point entry. Staff will lock all exterior doors to the school building.
  • Security camera systems with improved technology for real-time response and identification.
  • ID card readers for staff access to school. 
  • Intercom systems to assist with real-time notifications, including digital displays for deaf and hard of hearing.

Over the past few months, crews have installed our first phase of improvements, including:

  • 18 CCTV systems and related infrastructure
  • 18 access control intrusion intercom systems
  • 18 entry-card badge readers
  • 1 Vestibule

In addition, upgrades to access control, intercom systems, and intrusion detection systems in schools will run through spring 2023. All existing entry vestibules will be upgraded, or new ones will be built in the second phase of work. 

Staff adds to building security.

Four school patrol officers and 30 campus security officers (CSOs) supplement our school safety plan. Our patrol officers have the flexibility to respond to needs at schools throughout the day. Additionally, we’ve established a Rapid Response team to deploy to any location as needed. 

This year, all CSOs recently received training focusing on security awareness and establishing positive relationships with students. Our goal is to help CSOs develop trusting relationships with students, which can act as a preventive measure against school violence and build a safe culture.

Additionally, TPS has hired two staff to assist with student behavioral needs throughout the district. Our new Campus Support Specialists (CSS) will work with students to determine triggers and establish relationships bringing these students back into focus with their classes, peers, behavioral specialists, teachers, and principals.

10 Tips for Keeping Students Safe at School

  1. Make sure your child’s emergency contact information is up-to-date at school. 
  2. Subscribe to receive updates by text message. Text “Yes” to 67587 to opt-in.
  3. Ensure your list of adults authorized to pick up your child is up-to-date and that those adults know always to carry their ID. Students will not be released to anyone who is unauthorized or cannot provide appropriate identification. 
  4. Notify your school of any special needs your child has. 
  5. Check your phone/email every morning before your students leave for school in case of a delay due to weather or other emergency notification. 
  6. During an emergency, parents should not call the school. It is essential to keep phone lines open so school officials can make outgoing emergency calls. If children are ill or injured, their parents will be notified first. 
  7. During an emergency, parents should not go to school. Parents might inadvertently create traffic jams that block emergency responders from getting to the scene or leaving if necessary to transport injured students or staff to emergency medical facilities. 
  8. Parents should not reach out to their children during an emergency at school. They need to be focused on what they should be doing, and, in some cases, they may need to be quiet. 
  9. TPS has partnered with the Tacoma Police Department in making the “See Something, Say Something Campaign” an integral part of safety and security for students and staff. Encourage your child to talk to a trusted adult if they see or hear of weapons or threatening activities or behavior. 
  10. Encourage your child to take safety drills seriously, listen carefully, and follow directions. 

To learn more about our layered approach to safety, visit https://www.tacomaschools.org/departments/safety/safety-security