School Safety


The Indiana School Safety Specialist Academy and Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation present "Defuse and Manage Problem Students and Confrontational Parents:  School and Police Tactics That Work" to be presented by Dr. John More, President and CEO of Response Law, Inc. 

Date:  February 27, 2015

Location:  Penn High School

Time:  8:00AM to 3:30PM

Cost:  Free


Back to School Suggestions ONLINE SAFETY TIPS:

School supply lists include plenty of items that will help set students up for success. Pencils, papers, notebooks, and calculators are important, but some of the most useful back to school supplies do not go in a backpack. Going back to school means many students will access the Internet both at school and at home. Teachers, parents, and other adults can provide students the following online safety tips, from Stop.Think.Connect.’s parent and teacher resources:

  • Do not share personal information. Keep personal information about yourself private. This includes information about your family members, your school, your telephone number, and your address.
  • Be careful what you write or upload. Think twice before you post or say anything online. Once it is out in cyberspace, it is there forever. Do not post anything that you would not want your family, other students, teachers, or current and future employers to see!
  • Connect with care. Do not click on links or open emails from people you do not know. Cyber criminals use emails and links that look okay to lure people into clicking. If you think an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Use strong passwords. Try not to use the same password for multiple sites. Make passwords strong and change them often.
  • Keep your belongings safe. Lock your computer and mobile phone.
  • Be a good online citizen. Understand that what you do online is the same as what you do in person. Be careful what you post or say about others.
  • Speak up! If you see something bad or inappropriate online, are contacted by someone you do not know or do not want to talk to, or see cyber-bullying take place, do not try to retaliate or get involved. Talk to a trusted adult and work together on how to solve the problem.

PHM Safety Awards and Publications:

Director of Safety and Student Services Mike Seger conducted a national webinar in May 2014 for Security Today on critical components for K-12 school safety and security. In addition, he will be recognized with a Gov30 Security Award from Security Today on May 13 at the Washington Convention Center. The Gov30 award recognizes thirty leaders across the country  for their contributions to the government security community and the difference they made in securing critical infrastructure, key assets and the homeland. Security Today is the industry-leading security products magazine, enewsletter, and website for security dealers, integrators and end-users. For more information go to  

P-H-M Makes the News in Security Publications – November 2013

The November 2013 issue of Security Products Magazine features the article "Standing Above the Rest" by Ralph C. Jensen - "There are some schools and campuses that have prepared themselves so well above others that they are virtually a beacon on the hill in terms of security. Not only are they prepared, but they also know that threats are to be taken seriously, as no one is immune from an incident." Below is the link to the digital version of the story. Embedded in this digital version is the district's safety and security construction update: Scott Knipstein of Honeywell shared with Mike that he thinks this article will create a "buzz" in the industry that will develop and enhance the goal of keeping children safe in the school environment. In addition, the author Ralph C. Jensen wrote comments about P-H-M in the following article:

Here's a link to the PDF of the article with the cover photo of Director of Safety and Security Mike Seger and Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker. 

P-H-M is also featured in the November 2013 issue of Building Operating Management magazine. This article by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, is entitled "Full-Scale Active Shooter Drills Can Help Schools Prepare For The Worst" and it focuses on the active shooter exercise held this past April along with the article entitled "Indiana school district has three goals for active shooter drills":





P-H-M Safe Schools Mission Statement

Penn-Harris-Madison has developed school safety plans and crisis management plans and we utilize an ongoing process to update district-wide safety plans that includes in-service training, crisis preparation, a district safety committee and student/parent participation.  A safe, orderly environment is necessary to support student achievement. A coordinated effort among students, parents, educators and community members will keep our schools safe. Through study, planning, education and follow-up, we will continue to have safe schools that support student learning. If you have questions about school safety contact Director of Safety and Student Services Mike Seger at 574-258-9551.



 School Emergency Frequently Asked Questions

What is emergency preparedness?


    P-H-M School Corporation has taken steps to ensure your child's safety while in school. Each school has developed a crisis response plan. Emergency preparedness is basically preparing the steps you will take in the event of an emergency, such as contact information, communications, and evacuation plans.

    How can I stay informed?

    P-H-M school's broadcast emergency messages, when necessary, using a number of media options. General emergency messages, 2 hour delays and closings can be found on the school system public web home page (link) . Emergency messages are also sent by Phone to all P-H-M families based on the contact information provided in ESchool using the School Messenger Notification system. Emergency messages are provided to local media, and parents are encouraged to listen to radio or television.  Additionally, we utilize the P-H-M emergency hotline (574-254-2806) and P-H-M crisis call center (574-258-9561) if needed.

    How will my child's school handle an emergency situation?

    All P-H-M School facilities have an emergency preparedness plan. The specifics of each plan differ for each location. The response to each situation will differ based on the specifics of that situation. The flexibility of the plan is key to the success of the response. In general, each plan involves the designation of a crisis management team; development of evacuation, shelter-in-place, and lock down (CodeBlue) procedures; preparation of a portable critical response bag that contains key supplies; designation of one or more appropriate evacuation sites; details for dealing with specific types of incidents. All P-H-M School plans have been reviewed within the last twelve months, and school crisis teams have received training.

    How can I see the security plan for my child's school? (back to top)

    P-H-M School's do not release this type of specific information, pursuant to the Indiana Code 5-14-3-4. This law provides specific exclusions to the type of information that can be released. The Crisis Management Plan, includes a template which serves as the guide that schools use to construct their own site-specific plans in coordination with the Director of Safety and Student Services, threat assessment consultant and local emergency responders.

    What is lockdown? (back to top)

    An emergency may prevent the safe evacuation of a school building and require steps to isolate students and faculty from danger by instituting a school lock down. In an interior lock down situation, all students are kept in classrooms or other designated locations that are away from the danger. Faculty members are responsible for using the A.D.D. principle (AVOID, DENY, DEFEND) accounting for students and ensuring that no one leaves the safe area unless students can be removed safely. The A.D.D principal requires a certain amount of discretion on the part of the teachers in critical situations. School personnel will also secure building entrances, ensuring that no unauthorized individuals leave or enter the building. Exterior lock down procedures may also be used to ensure the safety of students when an incident occurs in the community. Parents are permitted access to the building through the main office only with identification required if safe to do so.

    In the event of a terrorist attack or other emergency situation, will P-H-M go into lockdown? (back to top)

    The specific actions taken by P-H-M School's in any emergency situation-both district wide and at individual schools-will depend on the specifics of the situation. Any action taken would depend on several factors, including the level of threat and the advice of local, state, and federal agencies. The safety of students and staff members will be the primary concern in any decision.

    What will P-H-M do if an act of war or other emergency situation occurs while students are in school? (back to top)

    The specific actions taken by P-H-M School Corporation in any emergency situation-both district wide and at individual schools-will depend on the specifics of the situation. Any action taken would depend on several factors, including the level of threat and the advice of local, state, and federal agencies. The safety of students and staff members will be the primary concern in any decision.

    What is shelter-in-place? (back to top)

    Shelter-in-Place is a short-term solution to a short-term problem. If an accident or attack that created contaminated air occurred in the nearby area, everyone would be brought indoors, including those in external buildings. Building personnel would close all windows and doors and shut down the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC). This would create a neutral pressure in the building, meaning the contaminated air would not be drawn into the building.

    Shelter-in-place is a short-term measure (measured in minutes or hours, not days) designed to use a facility and its indoor atmosphere to temporarily separate people from a hazardous outdoor environment. The alternative would be to evacuate into a hazardous situation, thereby causing harm to all involved.

    Parents are concerned that, during a shelter-in-place activity, they could not pick up their children and might be separated from them for long periods of time. That will not happen; if the air outside the school is safe for parents to breathe, it is safe for their children to breathe. School system personnel have developed a plan that uses the best possible method for ensuring the safety of students and staff members in this type of crisis. Remember, it is not the school systems intention to keep children from their parents. P-H-M personnel are merely endeavoring to keep children safe for parents until the parents can pick them up.

    What measures are being taken for students in unattached buildings? (back to top)

    If an accident or attack that created contaminated air occurred in the nearby area, everyone would be brought into the school building, including those in unattached buildings or trailers.

    What if a child is exposed to a biological or chemical contaminant? (back to top)

    In the event of an exposure--and the child is showing obvious symptoms of such--staff members on hand would conduct basic decontamination.

    What is basic decontamination? (back to top)

    In the event that your child shows symptoms of exposure, school staff members would conduct basic decontamination. The child would be separated from other children and directed to wash thoroughly with soap and water. If possible, school personnel would make sure that the child showered and would provide alternative clothing (Only in severe cases). The exposed clothing would be put in plastic bags, and the bags would be sealed.

    Removing a contaminated persons clothing effectively removes in excess of 80 percent of contaminants from the person; the alternative would be to do nothing and thereby cause the person to suffer pain and possible serious injury.

    Why are you keeping children from their parents? (back to top)

    P-H-M does not intend to keep children from their parents if a crisis occurs during school hours or school activities. It is the school systems intent to make sure that children are safe inside their schools until such a time that the threat has been reduced. Parents will be informed of the parent-student reunification center location via the school system emergency notification system, emergency hotline (574-254-2806), crisis call center (574-258-9561) ,school website and local media.

    What is a parent reunification site? (back to top)

    If public safety officials require that a school building be evacuated, students and staff members will be safely transported by bus to a designated parent-student reunification center. Parents will be informed of the reunification location via the school website, emergency notification system, emergency hotline 574-254-2806), crisis call center (574-258-9561) and local media. At the reunification center, students will be released to their parents upon presentation of proper identification.

    Why can't I be given the evacuation and parent reunification locations ahead of time? (back to top)

    P-H-M does not release this type of specific information, pursuant to the Indiana Code 5-14-3-4. This law provides specific exclusions to the type of information that can be released. Also, during emergency situations, circumstances could arise that might force changes to previously designated locations. Parents will be informed of parent-student reunification center locations via the local media and through school resources.

    Are schools stockpiling food and water? (back to top)

    The school system is taking action to make sure that schools and offices have the appropriate resources available for a short-term event. P-H-M Food Service has a Crisis Plan in place for such emergency situations. In the event of a large-scale catastrophic event, P-H-M would rely on federal and state authorities for assistance.

    The P-H-M shelter-in-place plan is to be used only in the event of a chemical, bio-hazard, or radiological event. In any one of these situations--which are usually localized (i.e., do not cover a wide area)--persons typically need to remain indoors until the hazard literally blows away. After the danger has passed, children and staff members will be free to go to their homes.

    There may be other events that would cause people to be housed for longer periods of time in public buildings such as schools--a bomb or nuclear event, for instance, which has destroyed homes or othewise. In such an event, other community agencies, including the Red Cross, would be responsible for providing food and water. This response would be a shelter, not ashelter-in-place.

    In all critical events of this magnitude, the school district becomes part of a larger emergency response team. The St. Joseph County Emergency Management Director and the county crisis response team lead this team. P-H-M has been approved to work with the American Red Cross for shelter facilities and Penn High School as well as Grissom Middle School will serve as a Mass Prophylaxis distribution site for St. Joesph County Health Department.

    Does the school district have a food service crisis plan in place for such emergencies? ()back to top

    Most of the envisioned emergency situations would be localized short-term events and would not call for long-term supplies. However, P-H-M School's does have a Food Service Crisis Plan in place and updated annually by the Director of Food Service. This plan involves utilization of available food and drinks in each facility during this short term crisis event.

    What if my child is riding a school bus at the time of a crisis? (back to top)

    School bus drivers will be in contact with the Office of Transportation for instructions in the event that a crisis occurs while students are in transport. Bus drivers will be informed to use common sense and not travel toward the crisis location. Parents will be informed of the parent-student reunification center location via the school system public web home page (link) and on the P-H-M Emergency Hotline (574-254-2806) and Crisis Call Center (574-258-9561) along with local media.

    Can I pick up my child? (back to top)

    Parents are allowed to pick up their children unless public safety officials have declared a shelter-in-place response, or there is some other reason why access to the facility is restricted. During any emergency, school personnel will maintain as safe and normal environment for children within the school as is possible. School is not automatically canceled in emergency situations. Remember, school may be the safest place for children.

    Who can pick up my children? (back to top)

    Children may not be released to individuals who are not authorized on the student's emergency care card or who do not have written parent authorization.

    The emergency care form is completed by parents and guardians at the start of each school year. Parents and guardians are encouraged to update the emergency contact information as needed throughout the school year.

    Friends and neighbors may sign a child or children out with written permission from a parent or parents. Both (or all) parents may give permission in writing for the sign out and pickup. Schools prefer to have written permission on the day that a childs pickup will change, but schools may also keep written permission on file. School offices may keep the permission notes--and are asked to attach them to the emergency care card(s) of those involved. Schools may also ask for identification when the child is released to the one(s) mentioned in the permission note. It is advisable to communicate with the teacher as well, perhaps with a copy of the signed written note.

    What about my child's medication? (back to top)

    If your child takes medication regularly, You, the parent, should make sure that the school has an appropriate amount of additional medication on hand. Talk with your childs school nurse for more information.

    Are students allowed to have cell phones at school? (back to top)

    P-H-M School's cell phone use if based on the individual school code of conduct. In the event of an emergency, students will be allowed to use their phones based on individual school code of conduct rules. It is important to recognize that in an emergency situation, however, cell phone circuits may become overloaded, interfering with public safety's ability to communicate.

    Can I contact my child? (back to top)

    Parents are asked not to call the school in emergency situations so phone lines can remain accessible for handling the specific situation. In the event of a crisis, P-H-M will open a Crisis Call Center to handle the numerous phone calls from parents and public. Parents will be kept informed via the emergency notification system, school system public web home page (link) , P-H-M Emergency Hotline (574-254-2806) and Crisis Call Center (574-258-9561).

    What will schools do if there is a smallpox outbreak? (back to top)

    P-H-M has worked with the St. Joseph County Health Department on the community wide response for mass prophylaxis vaccination plan. Coordination with local, state and federal agencies will take place.

    How will my children know what to do in the event of a terrorist attack? (back to top)

    Inform your children that, if a crisis occurs while they are in school, their teacher will provide them with appropriate instructions. All staff are provided training and access to the school crisis plans and drills occur on a monthly basis at all school locations.

    Parents are also encouraged to prepare a family disaster plan and practice it so that everyone will remember what to do if a disaster does occur. Everyone in the household, including children, should play a part in the families response and recovery efforts. Teach your children how to recognize danger signals. Make sure your children know what smoke detectors, fire alarms, and local community warning systems (horns, sirens) sound like.

    Will children be allowed to view events via live television or radio reports? (back to top)

    In the event of a terrorist attack or other crisis, teachers will be informed as to the appropriate actions to take. Receiving live media coverage in the classroom about an attack or crisis will be left up to the administrators and teachers discretion. Appropriate measures will be taken depending on the age of the students.

    How are field trips handled? (back to top)

    The impact of any critical situation on field trips--both district wide and at individual schools--will depend on the specifics of the situation. If the situation warrants, all field trips will be canceled. Cancellations could also include travel to schools, community programs, and other events. There may be circumstances that could require the cancellation of field trips to certain areas. All school buses are equipped with radio communications with the transportation office. If a field trip is under way and must be recalled, buses would be directed to return to the school or a designated safe area. Parents are reminded that P-H-M retains the right to cancel any field trip for safety reasons.




    P-H-M Crisis Numbers

    The PartnerLine is a completely confidential way of sharing information with P-H-M and the line is checked on a daily basis.  The crisis emergency number is available for updates during a crisis situation.

     Contact number for safety concerns or emergency situations


     Getting to school safely

    The video “Getting to School Safely” was produced by Denver Public Schools and is an awareness tool for parents and students.  This 12 minute video provides a ‘top 10’ list of driving hazards that parents and students should be aware of during drop off/pickup times:



     Safety is a priority with P-H-M

    These are the safety initiatives that are currently in place to maintain safe schools.

     Currently in place at P-H-M


    Community information

    The community participation folder contains tips for parents and information related to bullying, MySpace, Facebook, emergency crisis situations and transportation safety. In addition, you will find a document for making suggestions related to the safety of our students.

            Tips for parents

             What parents can do to help schools keep their children safe during an emergency

             Behavior patterns



             Facebook Security

             Facebook Safety

             Transportation Safety

             Safety suggestions

             Ready Kids Family Plan


    Links and resources for parents

    Here is a list of web links and other resources for parents related to emergency situations, safety, web safety and bullying.

              Links and resources for parents

              Netsmartz Internet Safety