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The number one priority of the Douglas County School District is the safety of our students and staff.

We understand that if our students and staff are not safe, nothing else matters. When we say safety, we mean it in the broadest sense. We mean physical, psychological and online safety.

In the spring of 1999, our concept of and our responsibilities regarding school safety changed dramatically with the tragic events at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. In December 2012, our education world, our paradigms and our leadership responsibilities to our students, staff and parents were tested once again with the unspeakable events in Newtown, Connecticut. Just as Douglas County did following the tragic events in 1999, the District stepped forward in 2012 with one of the strongest school safety responses and plans in the nation.

DCSD is a national leader regarding the physical safety of our students and student-athletes as it relates to head trauma and concussions. We have a nationally recognized head trauma team that works with nurses, support staff, athletic trainers, coaches and more throughout our district regarding the dangers of head trauma and concussions. We train playground supervisors, health assistants and many other staff members who may come upon a head traums situation so that they know exactly how to handle the situation in a way that is best for our students and staff. This is just the beginning of our leadership in this important area.

Beyond the physical safety of our students and staff, we understand and are equally committed to their psychological safety. Psychological safety for students and staff is realized when our student proactively take steps to limit the risk of injury to the psychological well-being of students and staff. Fortunately, DCSD has extraordinary professionals who personalize learning for students and whom give us the opportunity to lead in this area -- to build a model for school-based mental health in the nation. 

Our plan does not rest on the excellence of our past, but aspires to be the model of safety for the future.


Maximizing physical, psychological and online safety for students, staff and community
-Ensuring physically safe learning environments
-Collaborating with all schools to create a system-wide culture that prioritizes and values psychological safety and wellness
-Ensuring online safety and data privacy

Text-a-Tip. Safe2Tell Colorado.

It’s hard to imagine what our children are thinking about and feeling after hearing about incidents of school violence that have recently taken place in the United States.

In light of these incidents, it seems appropriate to talk about the processes we have in place here in Douglas County School District (DCSD) to keep our students and staff safe every day in our buildings.

A woman's hand holding an iphone, with Snapchat displayed on the screen of the phone.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This week, we are highlighting an excerpt from an article published by The Denver Post on two recent teen suicides. Both teens attended schools in neighboring school districts.

Banner displayed on a brick wall that says "What are your Sources of Strength?"

A fairly new partnership between DCSD’s Prevention & School Culture team and Douglas County Teen Court coordinators is providing a new path for youth offenders. Additionally, Sources of Strength— now present in most DCSD high schools and some middle schools— is establishing a healthy culture and climate with the goal of catching youth long before they fall into unhealthy behaviors or consider taking their own lives.


One conversation can change a life. Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Each week this month, Douglas County School District (DCSD) will provide information and tips on how to prevent suicide from occurring in our community.

Many people may not realize that suicide is the second leading cause of death for middle and high school-aged students, as reported by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This is surpassed only by “unintentional injury.”

Mock bedroom setup, with typical teen materials laying around like headphones, a backpack, air freshener, and clothing.

At first, it seems like a normal teen’s bedroom setup. There is a hairbrush on the dresser. A trash can sits by the desk. A junk drawer holds office supplies and random items.

Unscrew the head from the hairbrush, and you’ll discover a place to store marijuana. At the bottom of the trash is folded up aluminum foil with what appears to be black tar heroin inside. And inside that junk drawer are several pocket-size ziplock bags that are certainly not meant to hold office supplies.

Opt-in for emergency text messages. Send "Yes" to 68453

Text, Phone & Email messages will provide early notification

In the early moments of an emergency, school leaders have their hands full. Whether it is a Lockout, Lockdown, Shelter in Place or Evacuation – a lot needs to happen to ensure students and staff are safe and cared for.

Campus Safety Specialist posted at school

Douglas County School District’s (DCSD) Safety and Security team is dedicated to keeping all students, employees, parents and community members safe. In order to maintain a safe environment, several layers of safety measures are in place, including physical security measures, training and prevention, designed to protect our children in the event of an imminent threat to one of our schools or facilities.


Colorful dark sky with a near-full eclipse of the sun.

Planning is already underway to ensure that students can experience this unique event. We are asking our staff to take precautionary measures if they plan to involve their students in this amazing experience, to ensure the safety of all involved. Students will be instructed not to look at the partially or even near-fully eclipsed sun with the naked eye.  Additionally, homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses—even very dark ones—are not safe for looking at the sun.


Young man with headphones

A new Netflix series that debuted in March has become a popular topic of conversation in the hallways of several Douglas County schools, causing concern for some parents.

PARKER – In the Sierra Middle School gym, a furious game of knockout basketball was sending students from one end of the court to the other. In a classroom down the hall, students were getting a chance to meet and pet a beautiful therapy dog from the Mountain Vista High School therapy dog program. Near the school’s entrance, students were throwing on feathered boas, funny hats and Kanye West-inspired eyewear for a polaroid-themed photobooth.

Chrysta talking with Steve from Tri County Health

Chrysta Reese is a DCSD parent with a daughter who deals with addiction to heroin. She shares her story with us hoping to open a dialogue in our community that this is a problem that is indeed present in Douglas County, that it can happen to anyone regardless of circumstances or background, and that as a community we should work together to find solutions.

Frigid temperatures prompted the Douglas County School District to cancel classes on Thursday. DCSD’s snow team is continuing to monitor conditions, while crews prepare our buildings for when school resumes.

dad and son talking while hiking

A group of Douglas County mental health leaders and organizations, led by the Tri-County Health Department, have been strategizing for the last ten months on how to combat teenage substance abuse in Douglas County on a broad scale.

student next to lake and sign that says keep off thin ice

With temperatures now below freezing here in Douglas County, it's important to be cautious and keep off ice. Even if there have been cold temperatures for several days and a pond or lake looks solid, it can be extremely hard to tell, from the surface, whether the ice is sturdy.

Be prepared for any Douglas County School District delays or closures, by updating contact information in Infinite Campus and following the District’s emergency communication channels.

CASTLE ROCK— The health and well-being of students is key to maintaining a productive and safe learning environment. In partnership with our schools and community, Douglas County School District (DCSD) provides this safe learning environment through programs designed to prevent and bring awareness to issues like bullying, substance abuse, dating violence and suicide.

Kim Jones Castle Rock Middle School Campus Safety Specialist

DCSD’s Safety and Security team has created a comprehensive plan consisting of many layers, including physical security measures, training and prevention. The layers of security are designed to protect our children in the event of an imminent threat to one of our schools or facilities.

Inspired by the death of a friend and classmate, a group of Chaparral High School marketing students have launched a campaign to ensure their school and the community understand the dangers of distracted driving.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, a Colorado resident has tested positive for measles after traveling internationally and visiting several health facilities and businesses. In this 411 on Health, learn more about measles and how to protect your family.

This week’s anniversary of the Columbine High School tragedy is a poignant reminder of why it is critically important for school districts across the nation to take the safety and security of students and staff seriously. Douglas County School District (DCSD) has long been a leader in this regard. Learning from the past, it has taken a comprehensive and innovative approach, utilizing and continually improving a layered system of security.

Bullying often stems from misunderstandings between various social circles, but ThunderRidge has taken steps to try and erase the lines that separate those cliques. That’s where “Seminar” comes in.

160,000 students nationwide skip school every day for fear of being bullied. These schools are taking steps to ensure a safe learning environment for everybody. 

This school year, Chaparral implemented Sources of Strength in the school. The wellness program uses the combined power of peer relationships and caring adult relationships to improve social norms and enhance social support.

CASTLE ROCK - Our thoughts remain with the families and communities of the three Legend High School students involved in the tragedy last month at a retaining pond in Parker. Two students died and one other student was hospitalized after they fell through the ice.

This week we are providing some ice safety tips to help other students avoid this perennial danger.

It takes everyone working together to protect the 67,000 students of the Douglas County School District (DCSD). Through the vigilance and action of staff, students and parents, potential threats can be identified and disrupted early, as recently shown at Mountain Vista High School.

Out of Bounds is an informative evening about kids and cyber-bullying, and will give parents resources on where they can turn to for help

Douglas County School District (DCSD) takes the safety of our students and staff extremely seriously. We recognize that no single strategy provides a good guarantee of absolute safety. Because of this, DCSD has, for several years, utilized multiple layers of strategies with the goal of providing the highest level of security possible to ensure safety in our schools. Partnering with local law enforcement, such as on the Text-a-Tip program that helped prevent the threat earlier this week at Mountain Vista High School, is just one strategy. 

In the first moments of her keynote address, the former editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine set the tone for the entire Shine Summit. Ann Shoket encouraged the nearly 400 high school girls to be brave, strong, confident and to follow their dreams.

PARKER – Nearly 10 years after it was first performed, a troop of actors from Chaparral High School will be taking their play, “The Outrage,” to a wider, community audience.

The educational theatre performance, which is typically performed for high school audiences, discusses the topics of teen dating violence and sexual assault in a candid, yet sensitive manner. The presentation includes statistics, reenactments of teen dating situations, consent, and bystander intervention.

Leading up to Halloween, Douglas County, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office & Douglas County School District are teaming up to provide you with Halloween Safety Tips.

The event will be presented by Lynn Riemer, President of ACT on Drugs, Inc., a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate parents, teens, and professionals about addictive and psychoactive substances, both legal and illegal, which are available in their community.

Back to school often marks the beginning of the cold and flu season in our schools. With recent media coverage regarding viral meningitis at a Douglas County School District school, and two more parent-reported possible cases this week, we would like to remind everyone in District to keep three simple steps in mind to prevent illness of all types.

/sites/default/files/News/HOIP_School_Safety_brochure_NEW.pdfMore than 67,000 students are returning to school over the next week, making it the perfect time to discuss back-to-school safety with our kids, families and community. Whether students walk, bike, skate, ride or drive to school, it takes everyone to ensure they get there safely.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Biking is fun, healthy and good for the environment. But your bike is a vehicle, not a toy!

Several Douglas County schools are getting an opportunity to expand their education and prevention efforts for bullying, school violence, substance abuse and suicide.

Students entering school

DOUGLAS COUNTY – The schools in Douglas County School District (DCSD) provide many options for children who have a variety of learning styles. Another factor that contributes to student success is access to sufficient health care.

CASTLE ROCK - Following the recent snowstorm, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) has reviewed its preschool cancelation policies and is making a change to clarify and simplify the process for our youngest learners and their families.

At a recent forum more than two hundred Douglas County parents gathered to learn ways to keep their kids safe and to ask their questions to the experts.

With heavy snow and cold temperatures, Rock Canyon High School’s Fire Science class’s recent vehicle extrication exercise was about as realistic as you can get—in training.

CASTLE ROCK – The middle school years are a time of self-discovery and growth. Later this week, a group of District students will learn that they can follow a path of self-awareness and acceptance during an Empowerment Retreat hosted by the DCSD Student Wellness Department.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, hundreds of thousands of students in grades K-12 sustain concussions caused by sports-related injuries, motor vehicle accidents, or falls each year.

DENVER – October is Bullying Prevention month and the Douglas County School District is encouraging students, families and employees to get educated and take action on the issue.

That is exactly what a group of Douglas County high school students did on Monday, September 22, at the Colorado State Capitol. They gathered for the seventh annual Douglas County Youth Congress, discussing the impact that social media has on students.

There are a number of situations that may occur at a school that would prompt the Douglas County School District to evacuate a school building or release students early, including weather, a power or water outage, as well as a crisis at or near the school.

The Douglas County School District (DCSD) has a number of Prevention and School Culture programs, differentiated to meet the needs of our students at different grade levels, all of which aim at creating empathy and a positive culture at our schools.

Traditionally in education, the services provided to schools was compartmentalized, with different teams taking care of the educational, psychological and special needs of students.  Douglas County School District is taking a different approach, looking for ways to provide layered, differentiated support that meets all the needs of every child.

Safety is the number one priority in the Douglas County School District. While traditionally our efforts have centered on physical and psychological safety, District Chief Technology Officer Gautam Sethi says technology and online safety have become a crucial part of the picture.

In some emergency situations, the safest course of action is to stay put. That is why Shelter is one of the actions in our Standard Response Protocol (SRP).

In our Standard Response Protocol two of the actions are Lockout and Lockdown. While the names may be very similar, what happens during a Lockout and Lockdown is very different.

Douglas County School District parents and staff recently had an opportunity to learn more about the prevention of suicide and other youth tragedies from a national expert in school crisis.

Providing a safe learning environment that our children can thrive in simply cannot be the job of a single staff member at a school or even the Douglas County School District’s Safety & Security department. Every individual that interacts with our schools must play a role.

In an emergency, every second counts. That is why it is critical for the school district and each of our families to have a game plan.

CASTLE ROCK - On Thursday, September 4 at 11 a.m., the Douglas County School District will be conducting a test of our emergency messaging systems.

To ensure our notifications are timely and dependable, DCSD is committed to quarterly testing our emergency notification systems.

Do your children know to come inside when they are playing in a thunderstorm? Do you know how to protect yourself from lightning? Does your child’s coach call off practice/games in a thunderstorm? 

With school starting, we want to provide our students, staff and parents about some important reminders about safety and security.

National School Nurse Day, May 7, 2014, is a time to celebrate the role our school nurses play in the safety, health, and academic success of our students.

On Thursday, May 1 at 11 a.m., the Douglas County School District will be conducting a test of our emergency messaging systems in coordination with other school districts across the state.

Parents in Castle Rock will have opportunity to take part in Douglas County School District’s Safeguarding Children: Building Resiliency student safety forum on Wednesday night. The last of three scheduled regional forums will be held at Castle View High School, beginning at 6 p.m.

The first of three regional "Safeguarding Children: Building Resiliency" student safety forums is scheduled for Wednesday April 9. 

Next month the Douglas County School District will be teaming up with local law enforcement and other community partners to provide a series of regional forums on the safety of our students.

The goal of the recent ‘Most Important Night in School Security’ at Cimarron Middle School was to encourage parents to become more informed and involved when it comes to the security at their child’s school.

Students at several Douglas County schools are beginning with small acts of kindness, in hopes that they will lead to a larger change in the way kids treat each other in school and elsewhere.

The continually improving, layered security measures put into place by the Douglas County School District are among the most comprehensive and innovative in the nation. In addition to efforts to improve physical security, including the implementation of the first-of-its-kind School Marshal Program, the District is also focusing on student psychological safety, such as mental health, suicide and bullying prevention.

Douglas County is leading the country in closing the gaps in school security. Meet the people who are making it happen and learn about your role in helping our schools stay at the top of this critical issue.

Following the the July 2012 Aurora theater and December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary mass shootings, the students at Parker’s Challenge to Excellence Charter School say they experienced a wave of emotions.

CASTLE ROCK – While prom and graduation are meant to be times of celebration, unfortunately they can also be times of tragedy. Parents can make a difference by having a conversation with their kids about the consequences related to their decisions.

On Monday Superintendent Dr. Liz Fagen met with local law enforcement leaders to discuss school safety in light of last week's tragedy in Connecticut.