School Safety and Security

Student and staff safety are a top priority. We prepare for a variety of emergencies through mandated drills, annual safety meetings, building-level crisis teams, and collaboration with the Village of Wilmette’s Fire and Police Departments among other safety professionals.

Emergencies range from weather (tornado, storm) to potentially unsafe situations in a school building to possibly unsafe situations in the community. At times, district personnel (building or district level administrators) manage the situation and provide guidance to staff members. However, there could be an emergency situation where outside authorities (Police or Fire Department officials) are the leaders with our administrative staff supporting and following the directions given by others.

As we prepare, it is critical for families to also prepare. Below are suggested measures families can take:

  • Speak with your child about the possibility of emergencies and that adults will do everything they can to keep them safe.
  • Maintain an updated profile in PowerSchool with current phone numbers and email addresses. Please contact your school secretary if you need assistance updating your contact information. 
  • List emergency contacts to whom your child may be released. Let your child know who is allowed to pick them up if you are unable to get them.

Presentations and Resources

Key Elements to Safety and Security

Physical Security | Community Partnerships | Connectedness | Safety Drills | Reunification | Digital Safety | Reporting | Communication Principles

Physical Security
All of our buildings have secured vestibules and entry points. All exterior doors remain locked at all times. Visitors must identify themselves and undergo a screening with our visitor management system. In addition, visitors are required to wear a visitors badge that easily distinguishes from staff. Security cameras provide internal and external coverage of each building. Camera access is provided to local emergency personnel. All classrooms have the ability to contact emergency services with specific location information provided to local dispatch.

Community Partnerships
We have regular communication with our local and regional agencies, drawing not only on their expertise, but also using them for an ongoing review of our safety and security measures, training, and review of critical incidents. Additionally, the Wilmette Police Department provides a Community Resource Officer that can be found in our school buildings, interacting with our students, staff, and providing guidance to leadership. At Wilmette Junior High School, school safety dogs visit multiple times a year to alert the school to any contraband. These friendly breeds of dogs provide our students a feeling of safety and act as a deterrent.

Relationships that are formed among students and staff are one of the most vital elements of safe schools. We strive to provide opportunities for students to connect with each other and with trusted adults. These relationships create a safe learning environment which can reduce anxiety and stress. Through our social emotional learning curriculum and screeners, we proactively facilitate skill training and intervention.

Safety Drills
All schools annually participate in several safety drills. This includes, at minimum, a law enforcement drill, three fire drills, one severe weather drill, and one bus evacuation drill. The law enforcement drill and fire drills are observed by local Police and Fire officials to ensure procedures are being followed. The Wilmette Police Department and Wilmette Fire Department then provide the district with feedback for continued improvement.

In the event it is not safe to remain in a school building but is safe to leave the school, students will be escorted to predetermined evacuation locations. Should this occur, parents will be notified of their off-site reunification location. There will be a high level of security when allowing children to leave the site and reunite with their families. Although difficult to do, parents should remain calm and wait for information and direction from the school/District.

Digital Safety
Safe and responsible technology use, including how to be a good digital citizen, is taught through our technology and library classes and embedded naturally within assignments in other subject areas. A large presentation is provided to our sixth graders annually. Our commitment to keeping students safe includes safeguards such as using content restrictions and monitoring software.

We encourage all students to ask for help for themselves or others. Where to get help will depend on the situation. We tell students that if a trusted adult is not available, there are other ways to get help. We also provide frequent reminders of the importance of See Something, Say Something and encourage students and staff to utilize Safe2Help Illinois to seek help if someone is in need or something doesn’t feel right within the schools. Please download our "Safety Starts with Me" sign, which is posted in all District 39 buildings and is a handy, printable guide to the many available ways to report serious situations.
Safety Starts with Me Sign

D39 Emergency Communication Principles
  1. We will prioritize the safety of students, teachers and staff above all else.
      The immediate safety of all individuals will remain District 39’s highest priority in emergency situations. District 39 leaders will collaborate with local first responders, such as the Wilmette Police and Fire Departments, in emergency situations to address any perceived or real threats posed to students or the school district. Detailed information will be shared with the greater school district community as soon as possible, understanding that the safety and well being of students, teachers and staff is our first priority and area of focus.
  2. We will remain open and transparent on issues of student safety.
      We believe that families have a right to be informed in any instance where student safety or security becomes compromised. We will remain transparent in its communications by sharing facts pertaining to the safety/security issue in question as well as any steps that will be taken to mitigate or prevent the issue from occurring in the future. We will strive to communicate as much information as possible in such situations without jeopardizing internal safety/security measures.
      Sometimes, emergency situations will occur that involve individual members of the school community. In these instances, we will make every effort to respect the privacy of individuals involved when considering the information that can be released to the community and we have an obligation to follow federal and state regulations regarding privacy
  3. We will communicate accurate information with the community in a timely manner.
      Emergency situations can be stressful for students, families, staff and community members. District 39 is committed to sharing information about emergency situations with stakeholders in a timely manner once the facts of the situation become clear and we can verify the information to be accurate. While we understand that rumors spread quickly during emergency situations, we believe that sharing false information erodes trust in the district and has the potential to harm students, families and staff.