What is Bellingham Public Schools currently doing to keep students and staff safe?

  • We currently partner with the Bellingham Police Department to provide a District Resource Officer who supports all schools when needed. We also coordinate with local emergency responders to ensure our procedures for fire, earthquake, lockdowns and all other drills are current and reflect best practices for student safety.
  • Earlier this year, the state awarded Bellingham Public Schools a safety and security grant to combine with our bond funds approved by voters last November to make nearly $1 million in safety enhancements. This will allow us to install new emergency response systems in our facilities. These systems will decrease the time it takes for police and other first responders to arrive, and will provide a direct line of communication with law enforcement so they are better able to respond. You may recall that our plan to install these ‘panic buttons’ at all 22 schools and other district sites was in the local news last spring. The systems will be installed during this school year.
  • We’re also identifying other safety and security improvements (such as installation of interior and exterior access control systems, intrusion detection systems, video camera systems, internal and external communications systems, site control measures and site illumination/lighting) that can be implemented using bond funds.
  • We have recently been exploring, in partnership with Bellingham Police Department, a safety and security position to support all of this important work.
  • In the last four years, we have added counselors to all 22 of our schools and just last month, we started a new partnership through a grant to offer mental health support for any child in need. We are working more closely than ever before with community partners to help support all students and families.

What does it mean if my school is in lockdown?

Many lockdown situations for schools are caused by events occurring in neighborhoods, not necessarily related to the school itself. In these circumstances, schools lock their doors as a preventative measure, and in this type of lockdown, instruction continues. Lockdowns occur suddenly, and all of our attention goes toward the safety of students and staff inside in the building.

Lockdowns are generally brief and occur without warning. To provide families with accurate information, notifications usually go out after the lockdown is over. Depending on the duration and type of lockdown, there will be times when an informational letter explaining what happened goes home with students at the end of the day or an email is sent; other times, a phone call is warranted. We use our best judgment, according to the situation, on how to communicate and when, to make sure you are fully informed.

Who do I call if I have questions about safety and security at my school?

Please call your school office with any questions about school safety or if you need assistance updating your contact information.