Safety and Security
Dalton Public Schools believe that the safety and security of all students and staff are of the upmost importance. If students do not feel safe, they will not be able to focus on learning. In an effort to help parents/guardians stay informed about school safety and how they can assist during an emergency situation, please review the following information.
How Do Schools Prepare for an Emergency?
Each year, schools perform drills to be prepared for a weather emergency or a crisis situation. Currently, the state mandates that schools do monthly fire drills and a minimum of four emergency drills a year: two tornado drills and three lockdown drills.
- Lockdown Drills – Tests the alert systems and ensures students and staff appropriately react to a physical threat on campus.
- Fire Drills – Tests the alert systems and reinforces procedures for students and staff to evacuate the building in the event of a fire.
- Severe Weather Watch/Warning – Tests the alert systems and ensures students and staff knows how to shelter in place and remain clear of doors and windows due to impending severe weather.
Emergency Operations Plans
The district and schools each have an Emergency Operations Plan that outlines specific procedures for emergency situations to help ensure the safety of all students, staff and visitors. All plans are sent to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) annually.
Outdoor Event Plan
The district also has an emergency operations plan in the event of a crisis situation during an outdoor event.
Training for Emergency Situations
Dalton Public Schools believes that training is a vital part of preparing for a crisis. In an emergency situation, time is of the essence and staff must react quickly and efficiently. Regular training of what to do during an emergency will help staff know how to respond to protect against injury or death.
Dalton Public Schools provides opportunities for staff training in the following areas:
- Lockdown drills for weather-related emergencies
- Lockdown drills for threats inside or outside the building
- Fire Drills
- Active Shooter Training in partnership with Dalton Police Department
- Stop the Bleed
Community Partners in Safety
An important part of emergency preparedness includes developing working relationships with community agencies that provide first response to incidents. These agencies work with our district to provide training for staff, input on procedures and processes through participation on our safety team, debriefing on incidents that happen within schools, and support during events or situations when needed. We work closely with the following partners:
- Dalton Police Department
- Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency
- Dalton Fire Department
- Hamilton Medical Center
- City of Dalton
See Something, Say Something
The Dalton Public Schools mobile app includes a Tip Line where anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious may report the information to a school administrator. Contact information is optional, so reports can be made anonymously. The app allows for the user to upload a photo or video related to a threat or suspicious activity. All reports are taken seriously and investigated by the school and/or district administrators.
The Dalton Public Schools mobile app is available for all smartphones and can be downloaded free from the App Store by searching for Dalton Public Schools.
Student Assistance Program/ Employee Assistance Program
In an effort to address the social emotional wellbeing of students and staff members, Dalton Public Schools introduced its Student Assistance Program and Employee Assistance Program. Both programs provide free counseling and mental health services for individuals who are experiencing anxiety, stress or have experienced a traumatic event in their lives. To access these services, students should contact their school counselor for a referral.
Crisis Response Team
Each of the Dalton Public Schools employs a counselor and a social worker that are trained to support students in a variety of ways. Together, this group of employees is deployed in the event of an emergency or crisis situation to provide counseling and student assistance as needed.
To view recommended resources in the event of a crisis, visit our Parent and Staff Resource page.
What Should Parents Know Before a School Emergency Happens?
The most important step that parents can take in helping schools respond in an emergency is to ensure that the student’s emergency contact information is updated and correct. Parents should contact their child’s school office to update information if they move or obtain a new phone number.
Dalton Public Schools has a parent notification system that is used during inclement weather and in the event of a crisis. Parents and guardians can be notified by text, email or phone call. Parents should ensure that they have selected their preferred communication method and have accurate contact information on file.
What Should Parents Do In the Event of a Crisis at their Child’s School?
Don’t call the school
Should a crisis happen at your child’s school, please do not call the school. During an emergency, schools need open phone lines to be able to contact first responders. Tying up phone lines may hamper the ability for school officials to communicate as needed.
Don’t go to the school
Do not go to the school. Parents and guardians who rush to the school may impede traffic and hinder emergency response vehicles from quickly getting to the scene. Also, during a crisis, police will not allow anyone on the school grounds until the situation has been resolved. You could put your own life in danger.
Wait for Communication from the School/District
Be assured that school officials will contact parents with information and directions as soon as possible. Our first response is to ensure the safety of all students and staff. We will communicate vital information to you as soon as it is available.
Best Way to Get Information
If a crisis occurs at your child’s school, be assured that the school will be in touch with you as soon as it is safe to do so.
Important updates and directions will also be shared at one or all of the following:
•The district website (www.daltonpublicschools.com)
•The district’s social media channels (Facebook and Twitter - @dpsschools)
•The district’s mobile app (The app is free and available for download on the App Store by searching for “Dalton Public Schools”)
•The local radio and television stations that provide news alerts
The district has put together some quick tips for parents and guardians in preparation for an emergency. You can download the tip sheet by clicking here.
The tip sheet is also available on the Dalton Public Schools mobile app under Documents.