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School Safety

The Hart District is continually assessing our safety practices as part of our commitment to maintaining safe and inclusive schools for our students. As part of this work, we contracted in November 2019 with an outside security consultant, PrinceKallin, to provide us with an objective review of our procedures along with a summary of Best Safety Practices used in the educational setting. As such, the list that follows contains efforts in four main areas: mental health and wellness, site security, communication, and policy and training. 

For detailed information regarding each of these focus areas, please click on the titles below.

  • Best Practice: Establish a District Threat Assessment Team (DTAT) that brings together appropriate resources to identify persons of concern, assess potential risk of violence and develop violence mitigation strategies.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District first established the DTAT in 2016. To expand the capacity of this team, we converted the DTAT to a District Care Team (DCT). The DCT proactively supports school sites to support students who are in need of social and/or emotional support. The DCT meets regularly.

  • Best Practice: Establish School Care/Student Needs Teams at each school site within the district to identify and refer students with unmet needs to early intervention resources as appropriate to reduce the risk of targeted violence.

  • Hart District Progress: School sites have assembled multidisciplinary Student Care Teams to ensure a high level of functionality to provide resources to students and families in need of them. These site teams convene regularly to proactively support students who may be in need of additional support or services.

  • Best Practice: Develop and implement social and emotional learning (SEL) modules as components of the existing health curriculum that is required for all incoming freshmen.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District has wellness centers on all campuses to support the social, emotional, and mental health challenges faced by students and parents. These centers are open during the school day and are staffed with Wellness Coordinators to support student mental health needs. Wellness Coordinators also push into classes to provide social emotional learning curriculum in addition to adaptive coping strategies to support student mental health. They also support the positive climate and culture of schools by pushing out SEL activities and events on a larger scale as demonstrated by school-wide activities, empowerment conferences, and Wellness Forums.

    The Hart District is also implementing a new Family and Human Services CTE Pathway with the goal of providing interested students an opportunity to explore and prepare for careers in a number of fields, including, but not limited to: psychology, sociology, social work, and child development. Students within this pathway will gain practical experience by providing peer-to-peer support in our wellness centers.

  • Best Practice: Where possible, assign an experienced licensed therapist, at the masters or doctoral level, to each school site for continuity of site awareness, ability to support School Care Teams and expansion of mental health capacity.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District employs a full team of over 50 licensed and pre-licensed therapists within the Counseling Department to provide intensive therapeutic services that help diffuse aggression, address isolation, and tend to the mental health needs of our general and special education students and families. We also employ a cadre of licensed and pre-licensed social workers to support the unique and ever changing needs of our students and their families.

  • Best Practice: Consider District-wide opportunities to provide trainings such as Capturing Kids Hearts (CKH) or Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) which support a consistent framework for intervention across the District.

  • Hart District Progress:  The Hart District adopted Capturing Kids' Hearts, an evidence-based practice, in 2012. In addition, our junior high schools use Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), an evidence-based, three-tiered framework to improve and integrate data, systems, and practices affecting student outcomes every day. 

  • Best Practice: Develop and maintain relationships and communication with community resources such as Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), School Threat Assessment and Response Team (START), and other local mental health resources.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District has long-standing relationships and communicates regularly with LACDMH, START, and many community partners. Since November 2019, we have strengthened these relationships and expanded our connections to support students, including outstanding support in the months following the tragedy by organizations such as the Child and Family Center and the Children's Bureau, who were pivotal in providing assistance and support to staff, students and families.

  • Best Practice: In order to maximize the effect of early intervention, it is recommended that the District engage in a Santa Clarita Valley-wide School Based Counseling (SBC) program that includes all the elementary school districts within the Santa Clarita Valley.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District, through its Director of Counseling, Dr. Nicholas Betty, has developed a SBC program with expanded access to our feeder elementary school districts. SBC has recently expanded in capacity with the introduction of groups.

  • Best Practice: Partner with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to provide School Resource Officers (SROs) to the District.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District currently partners with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to provide SROs. Our schools our supported by seven SROs and one Sergeant. The Hart District maintains a productive and positive relationship with the Sheriff's Department, whose deputies build relationships with our students and are part of the Hart District family. The regular collaboration and communication between the Hart District and our local Sheriff's Department is instrumental in keeping our community safe.

  • Best Practice: Develop parent and visitor management systems for each site within the District. Considerations should include identified access points, badging or similar identification mechanism, and escort protocols.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District utilizes SafeVisitor Solutions as its visitor management system at all sites.

  • Best Practice: Enhance and maintain perimeter security for all District sites. All boundaries should be clearly marked with visible signage articulating District rules for entry and use.

  • Hart District Progress: All junior high and high schools are completely enclosed within a perimeter fence line. Sites review signage annually.

  • Best Practice: Obtain and integrate camera systems into District schools.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District has multiple security cameras at each site. We have completed a project to standardize the number of security cameras at sites, which resulted in an increase to the total number of security cameras in the District. Additionally, the Hart District has provided online access to the SCV Sheriff's Department, who are now able to expedite their ability to assess live situations as they are happening.

  • Best Practice: Apply bullet resistant glass or glass covering to school windows. Primary focus should be on outward facing windows (windows facing street and other public sight lines into school). Secondary focus should be on internal (campus) facing windows.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District has installed shatter-resistant glass film for the windows described in the Best Practice. 

  • Best Practice: Review signage within all school sites to ensure consistency of message and accuracy of directions. Signs should indicate expectations for on campus conduct, emergency resources and routes for emergency evacuation.

  • Hart District Progress: School site administration reviews campus signage annually.

  • Best Practice: Conduct an annual safety audit of each District site. The audit should include a check of the integrity of site perimeters and a review of safety plans and policies.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District works with its risk management partner, POMS & Associates, to provide annual safety audits. These audits most recently took place at all Hart District campuses in the spring of 2021. POMS & Associates deploys school safety audit personnel who have experience both with school systems and law enforcement. Our representative, for example, is a retired School Resource Officer from New Mexico. 
  • Best Practice: Obtain a communication platform which allows emergency communications to potentially impacted groups (students, family, staff) both site specific and Districtwide.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District utilizes CrisisGo, as a crisis communications platform. CrisisGo assists the Hart District with threat reporting; two-way communication with the threat reporter; instant alert to staff computers and mobile phones for threats; escalation ability to site and district administrators; roster and reunification procedures for students; and drill management capabilities. Our SROs are also notified through CrisisGo when an alert is issued through the platform. The Hart District is also using ParentSquare for school communication via email, text, and app notifications. ParentSquare unifies all school and District communication and offers two-way communication between families and schools.

  • Best Practice: Adopt a District-wide reporting mechanism for students, faculty, staff, and community to provide information regarding unmet student needs which may impact their and District safety. Rebrand Text-a-Tip to enhance recognition of this tool as appropriate for situations beyond threats to safety.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District uses Student CAREText lines as a communication tool for students and community members to quickly and confidentially report any behaviors of concern that might indicate a need for further attention. For more information on Student CAREText, please click here.
  • Best Practice: The District should create policy that emphasizes that safety is a shared responsibility between all members of the educational community.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District re-branded Text-A-Tip to Student CAREText in efforts to encourage the reporting of a wider spectrum of wellness concerns. Site staff have been trained on the expansion of this tool and actively promote the use of Student CAREText to students, parents, and community members. We continue to collaborate with all stakeholders in efforts to reinforce the message that safety is a shared responsibility among all members of the educational community.

  • Best Practice: The District should implement District-wide training for all staff to review “behaviors of concern” and appropriate reporting and intervention options.

  • Hart District Progress: The District continues to provide District-wide training to ensure all staff have awareness regarding behaviors of concerns and the various avenues available to report these concerns, including, but not limited to: utilizing the Student CAREText line, notifying a member of the school care team, notifying the SRO, or discussing concerns with a counselor or school administrator. The Hart District assigns all clinical staff, counselors, and social workers an 88 minute online training on School Violence and Threat Assessment. Our social workers also meet quarterly with DCFS and other community partners to ensure resources are in place to address and support students.

  • Best Practice: Provide de-escalation and physical restraint training for all administrators, campus security, School Resource Officers (SRO), and special education staff.

  • Hart District Progress: Special Education staff receive de-escalation training through our online training modules with Keenan and Associates. Select Special Education teachers, classified staff, counselors, and administrators receive annual non-violent crisis intervention (NCI) training to help staff manage extreme student behavior resulting from the student’s primary disability.

    All campus supervisors annually complete four hours of safety training. Training topics include, but are not limited to the following: illness injury and prevention program, de-escalation strategies, current safety, and community trends. Training also includes use of an AED, Narcan, and epi pens.

    The Hart District also provides an annual SB 390 certification course to all campus supervisors, leads, and assistant principals. The initial training consists of 24 hours followed by 8 hours of annual refresher training. Use of force, behavior health and mental wellbeing, de-escalation, conflict resolution, and communication are some of the topics reviewed in this training. The Hart District also conducts annual Emergency Operation and Response training is provided to all Assistant Principals who oversee safety. Training includes table top exercises, scenarios, and a review of the District's Emergency Operations Plan (EOP).

  • Best Practice: Provide District-wide training on trauma informed response and diversity/cultural awareness. Ensure attendance by staff and teachers, as well as volunteers or others who will have campus presence.

  • Hart District Progress: Every school site in the Hart District has established an Equity and Diversity Collaborative where students and staff are talking through diversity and cultural awareness issues on campus. The Hart District has also established a focus of diversity and cultural awareness, with principals of each school presenting at a Board meeting last school year what their sites are doing in those important areas.

    Mr. Ira Rounsaville, a social worker, is now leading the District's efforts to promote a positive school culture and climate throughout the District as part of the District's commitment to fostering a culture of inclusivity, kindness, and respect for all students. Mr. Rounsaville will work closely with teachers and administrators to implement practices that help ensure students feel safe and supported in the classroom.

    Wellness Centers also provide trauma-informed supports to students through quarterly student workshops. Monthly parent forums are also available to staff and students that provided valuable resources and skills on trauma informed responses and mental health awareness.

    The Hart District has conducted multiple trainings in trauma informed practices, including:
    • Building Interventions for Trauma Exposed Students - March 2018
    • Trauma Informed Care and Suicide Prevention in Schools - March 2019 and February 2021
    • Trauma Informed Teaching - December 2019
    • The Trauma Informed School - February 2020
    • Impact of Trauma and Stress on the Brain – August 2020
    • Effects of Trauma and Stress on Learning and Behavior – August 2020

  • Best Practice: Establish a cybersecurity capability. The District should develop the resources to monitor social media, screen for messages of concern, and manage responses in coordination with local law enforcement.

  • Hart District Progress: The Hart District uses Bark for Schools to help protect our students from online and real life dangers. As such, Bark monitors Hart District student Google accounts, including Gmail and Drive, for signs of potential issues like: cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, sexual predators, and threats of violence. When possible dangers arise on these school-issued student accounts, Bark for Schools sends school site administrators alerts so they can evaluate and address those concerns in a timely manner. With situations involving possible imminent student harm, we will collaborate with families, law enforcement, and local mental health agencies to ensure the safety of our students. These alerts also give school administrators insights that help promote the wellness of the entire student body. Bark is deactivated during winter break, spring break, and summer break.

Governing Board School Safety Updates

The Hart District is committed to reviewing and updating safety practices on a regular basis. Please see links below to recent School Safety Update presentations.


After the tragic events at Saugus High School in November, 2019, the William S. Hart Union High School District initiated a process to review our safety and security processes to provide objective recommendations to the District for enhancing Districtwide safety processes focusing on industry standards, best practices, and evidence based research. To that end, the District collaborated with a small group of threat assessment professionals, who are
nationally recognized as experts in campus violence prevention, to:
  1. Summarize research and best practices in the area of school safety and threat assessment,
  2. Participate in community meetings to provide a framework to discuss current District processes,
  3. Evaluate District plans, policies and procedures related to targeted violence prevention, and
  4. Provide recommendations to the District for enhancing plans and procedures for campus violence prevention.
The link below contains the full report prepared by Prince/Kallin Consultants as a result of these collaborative efforts.