H-SANTA MARIA

Mar 7, 2013 8:50 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

Santa Maria High School explains school safety procedures

There was extra security on the Arroyo Grande High School campus Thursday and school officials say there was a greater than normal number of absences.

This, after a student sent a message to a classmate at Arroyo Grande High School last week, warning them not to come to school on March 7th.

An investigation by the Lucia Mar Unified School District and Arroyo Grande Police concluded the student did not pose a threat.

The district says it followed protocol.

KSBY News met with officials from Santa Maria High School to find out how their school reacts when threats are brought to their attention and what their school is doing to be proactive.

With just one click, staff at Santa Maria High School can watch over their school and the safety of their students.

"The first step is we want to know every single one of our students," said Santa Maria High School Principal Joseph Domingues.

Principal Domingues says a proactive approach is key to prevent any type of threat and giving students resources they need to feel safe.

"They feel more comfortable talking to adults before making these threats," said Principal Domingues.

He says many schools have plans in place.

Santa Maria High School treats every threat with the same priority.

"Procedures are black and white, but a lot of these cases aren't black and white. There's a lot of gray and that's where we have to make a decision," said Principal Domingues.

This means reevaluating safety plans.

"It really all depends on having a really good feel of your school climate," said Santa Maria High School Assistant Principal Peter Flores.

Which is why several times a year, school officials at Santa Maria High School do a security walk through looking for areas of improvement.

"We handle every concern with high concern," said Assistant Principal Flores.

He says cameras, gates and limited access is all part of keeping their students safe.

When a threat is made, the school is prepared to act.

"When somebody says I'm going to beat you up or I'm going to bring a weapon to school, that obviously raises it to a different level of concern," said Flores.

Flores says Santa Maria High School has a threat assessment procedure they follow, that includes contacting the Santa Maria Police Department, if necessary.

He says since making changes to improve the safety of the school, the school is at an all-time low with student conflicts.

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