Q: Several campus safety improvements have been made in the last year or so, can you describe these changes? (gate locking, video cameras & their placement, etc.)
A: “The first change that was made was to the gates. The idea was that all the gates would be changed to be opened from the inside going out but locked from the outside going in. Two of these have been done, and we’re waiting on the district to do four more: two on yard 4, one on yard 3, and the garden gate. I’ll be following up with them in the coming months.
Regarding the cameras, the district came out and installed nine cameras covering all entrances and yard 1 and the garden. Two more are coming in yard 3 and 4 and the ramp that goes to yard 1 to cover yard 2. In addition to that they installed (upon my request) speakers on the outside so we can make necessary announcements to students and teachers learning and teaching outside.”
Q: Tell me more about the gate locks. Is every gate locked during the day? If so, at what time are they locked and unlocked?
A: “For fire & evacuation purposes we need to have the main entry points that leave the campus available for exit – they cannot be padlocked. They are unlocked from the inside and locked from the outside. Two of the four main gates have this feature. Other than that, we can lock every other gate.”
Q: How often do fire drills and earthquake drills happen? Where can I find information about the procedures should there be a fire or earthquake?
A: “Fire drills happen once per month and an additional one happens at the beginning of the year before firefighters come so we can practice. Firefighters come for each scheduled fire drill. Earthquake drills happen twice per year at a minimum. We also have lockdown and lockout drills one each at the beginning of the year. The classroom teachers go through what a lockdown and lockout is and the teachers practice in their classroom multiple times to be ready for it. Last year I walked around with a video camera and tried to open the doors during our lockout and lockdown drills to see who was in compliance. If a criminal is in the vicinity we go into a lockout and all get an alert on our cell phones.”
For more details and district-wide emergency procedures, visit this website:
Q: Are children at West Portal educated about stranger danger? If so, when & how often? Who teaches this?
A: We have a health advocate that provides material to the teachers. Some classes bring in community helpers such as police officers or firefighters. Curriculum is provided and the teachers teach the lessons based on age level and appropriateness. They teach one or more lessons per year by each teacher. They also talk about going in pairs whenever they are walking around the school for things like attendance folders, office errands, etc. This is enforced by all personnel as they see children walking around the school. Children are also educated about good and bad touching at the appropriate ages & grades where they can understand.”
Q: What kind of CPR & First Aid training do teachers & staff get? How often do they get certified?
A: “Every two-three years, everyone has to get recertified. The district provides opportunities for this or we bring someone in ourselves if we have a lot of teachers who need it.”
Q: West Portal has a lot of concrete. What is the procedure for head injuries?
A: “Every single injury or hit to the head is sent to the office and we notify the parents. We also write an injury report about it, even if the parent takes them from school and chooses not to take to the doctor. We document what we did and the procedures we took.”
If you have a WPE safety concern, please reach out to Will Lucey and Cate Walter directly at principal@WestPortalSchool.com.
For concerns that you want to escalate or want to discuss with someone outside of the school, it’s best to start here: