School Security


    Student and staff safety is our number one priority. The Providence Public School District (PPSD) is committed to constant assessment and improvement of school security. We also understand that it is critical to keep students, families, and staff informed during emergency situations. On this page you will find:


    School Security Protocols

    The Providence Public School District (PPSD) has an Emergency Response Plan that is reviewed and updated every 3 years. This plan is built and reviewed in collaboration with the Providence Police Department, Providence Fire Department, and the Providence Emergency Management Agency.


    The Emergency Response Plan outlines responsibilities of school staff during dozens of different emergency situations such as a fire, an active shooter, and natural disasters, among others. All building administrators receive training on the Emergency Response Plan throughout the year.


    Below are some additional details of PPSD’s current Emergency Response Plan:


    • Requires 15 safety drills annually at each school for scenarios like a fire, active shooter, and building evacuations.

    • Establishes Crisis Teams in every school building.

    • Provides training and professional development for staff members during staff orientation and during principal professional development days.

    • Requires PPSD Principals to establish a “closed campus” in their buildings by designating only one entrance and exit when feasible.

    •  All visitors must sign in and out at the school office, and any unauthorized person in a school requires immediate response and a call to 9-1-1 if necessary.

    • The Providence Public School District is required to assess and update this Emergency Response Plan every three years. The most recent update occurred in the summer of 2022.

    • A District-Wide Crisis Team provides additional support for schools responding to crisis situations.

    • Refresher training for administrators and staff is provided each school year, outlining emergency response protocols.

    • Increased social-emotional support staff at schools for students to help prevent and de-escalate conflicts.


    There is no finish line with school security. The Providence Public School District understands that a constant process of assessment and risk mitigation is necessary to ensure student and staff safety. 



    Communications to expect during an emergency or drill

    An emergency situation at your child’s school is a stressful situation for any parent or guardian. The Providence Public School District is committed to keeping you informed during emergencies.


    Please note that it may take time to gather specific information during an emergency situation because the first priority of staff and authorities is to ensure everyone’s safety. Once staff and authorities are able to provide information, it will be relayed to families as quickly as possible.


    Many of these communications will be sent via the District’s ParentSqaure text message application. Parents are automatically enrolled in Kinvo by providing a cell phone number when their child is registered for school. If you or another parent/guardian needs to sign up to receive ParentSquare messages from the District, please contact your child’s school directly or contact our customer service team using the Let’s Talk! application for iPhone or Android.


    The District has established the following procedures to provide information to families during a safety drill or emergency situation:


    • Safety drills

    • Fire drills, evacuation drills, and lockdown drills are necessary to ensure everyone’s safety during a real emergency.

    • All parents will be notified via ParentSquare text message when a safety drill occurs at their child’s school.

    • These ParentSquare notices will be sent at the end of the school day, after the drill occurs. Notices of drills will not be sent ahead of time. This will help ensure that all students treat the drill seriously.

    • Emergency situations

    • When a school is placed in “lockdown” or “secured building status” because of a safety concern, the school is expected to notify families of the situation via ParentSquare text message within 15 minutes, whenever possible.

    • Families are asked to please understand that full details will likely be unavailable in the early stages of the situation, because building leaders are busy ensuring the safety of students and staff.

    • An update will be sent to families via ParentSquare text message when the situation has been resolved and normal school activity resumes.

    • During a prolonged emergency situation, parents will receive an update every 30 minutes with the latest information available.

    • The school will provide a follow-up letter within 24 hours of the event with additional context of the incident and details of the school’s response.



    What parents and guardians should do during an emergency or safety drill

    For the safety of everyone involved and to maintain order, we respectfully ask that parents and guardians abide by the following recommendations during an emergency situation or safety drill:


    • Do not come to the school campus. A crowd can distract staff and first responders from the duties necessary to keep students and staff safe.

    • Do not call the school offices. They will likely be busy with the drill or actual emergency.

    • Do not contact students or staff members via cell phone or social media. They will likely be busy participating in the drill or receiving instructions from a staff member or from authorities during an actual emergency.

    • Avoid social media posts about the safety drill or emergency situation. Information on social media can be highly unreliable and spread quickly. The correct information will be disseminated by the District as soon as possible.

    • Please make sure the contact information on file with your child’s school is current at all times so that you can be reached without delay in the event of an emergency.

    • In the event of an actual emergency evacuation, you will receive notification on where to pick up your child as soon as possible.

    • If you have any questions regarding safety drills or other safety concerns, please contact your school office. 

    Commonly used school security terms

    Lockdown Procedure:

    • This protocol is enacted when a dangerous situation that may result in harm to a person is taking place INSIDE the school building.

    • A lockdown means there is no movement inside or outside the building. All students and staff remain sheltered in their location.

    • Authorities are called immediately.

    • Parents are notified as soon as the situation permits. Our first priority is to keep all students and staff safe and accounted for. 

    • No one is able to enter the building or exit the building. If parents come, we will ask you to wait for clearance from authorities before you can dismiss your child.

    • Authorities have control over the school. We follow their procedures and recommendations to keep everyone safe until the lockdown is lifted.

    • Authorities follow procedures to ensure that the building is secure before lifting the lockdown.


    Secured Building Status:

    • This protocol is enacted when a dangerous situation that may result in harm to a person is taking place OUTSIDE the school building. This could be in the neighborhood or surrounding areas. 

    • An example would be an active police scene that is near the school but unrelated to the school itself.

    • Police notify school officials when such an incident takes place near a school building.

    • In a secured building status, all exterior doors and windows are secured to help ensure the threat remains outside of the building.

    • No one is allowed to enter the building. If students are out for recess when a secured building status is called, the students are brought inside immediately. 

    • Instruction is able to continue as normal once all students are inside the building and have been accounted for.

    • Parents are notified as soon as the situation permits. Our first priority is to keep all students safe and accounted for. 

    • We highly recommend families NOT to come to the campus to keep yourself and others in the area safe. 

    • Once authorities deem the external threat no longer exists, we are able to lift the status and resume normal activity.


    Evacuation Drill

    • During an evacuation drill, students are safely escorted along a designated route to a predetermined evacuation site. At the end of the drill, students are escorted back into the school.