Safety is a community-wide issue, concludes Highline Public Schools report

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Safety is a community-wide issue” – that’s the message that came out loud and clear at the community safety meetings Highline Public Schools conducted last spring in partnership with community leaders, the district reported Tuesday, Oct. 2.

The White Center Community Development Association compiled input gathered at the meetings, and generated a report (download PDF file here) that can guide the district’s work to enhance safety in the community and schools.

In addition to the report, Highline is sharing steps they are taking with schools across the district.

Key Findings
Community input was grouped in three main categories:

  • a vision for the community
  • priority issues that should be addressed
  • strategies for addressing these issues and achieving the community’s vision

Community vision primarily consisted of:

  • an inclusive social environment
  • safe public spaces
  • safe schools
  • empowered community members

Priority issues in the community included:

  • community climate
  • mental health and substance use
  • crime and violence
  • child and family support
  • government and politics
  • law enforcement
  • socioeconomic systems
  • school climate
  • bullying

Participants suggested community-based, school-based and individual-level strategies for addressing priority issues and achieving community vision. Suggested strategies included:

  • improving the social and physical community environment
  • providing services to community members
  • improving partnerships across stakeholders including with law enforcement
  • school emergency planning
  • prioritizing student and community voices
  • increasing civic engagement

Highline’s Response
Here are some of Highline’s strategies in response to this report:

  • Highline has an extensive emergency preparedness and response plan, including tabletop drills.
  • Highline is focusing efforts on building positive school culture to create safe school environments.
  • Highline has committed significant resources to social-emotional strategies for both adults and students, including Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports, RULER and restorative practices.
  • Highline has numerous partnerships (both on and off school campuses) that provide extended learning opportunities for students, mental health and social-emotional supports, and gang prevention/intervention.
  • Highline’s student conduct policies provide a range of disciplinary measures, including parent conferences, restitution, in- and out-of-school suspensions, and expulsion. If a student presents a safety threat, they will be suspended or expelled.
  • Highline’s crisis team provides social and emotional support to students and staff in crisis situations.

Safety in Highline
Student safety is a top priority. Read about Highline’s ongoing safety efforts in English or ongoing safety efforts en espanol.

Superintendent Susan Enfield and other district leaders are working closely with law enforcement leaders from Burien, Seatac, Normandy Park, Des Moines and King County to identify how Highline can partner to improve the safety of the whole community, including Highline schools.

“I have great faith in our ability to come together and find solutions that will ensure Highline is the safe, welcoming community we all want it to be,” Enfield said.

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