Safety & Security
Dr. Thomas Shea
Director of Safety
p: (973) 762 - 5600 ext 8007
The safety of our students and staff is always the highest priority for the South Orange Maplewood School District. We coordinate our approach to school safety with the Police and Fire Departments of South Orange and Maplewood. Security procedures are established for all of the schools – schools are locked, unauthorized visitors are prohibited, cameras monitor all who enter our buildings, and each school has a crisis management team. We thoroughly review, evaluate, and update safety practices and security plans on a routine basis.
In addition, we conduct state-mandated emergency drills – both a fire drill, and a security drill – at each school every month. Security drills include non-fire evacuations and lockdown situations. We practice a different security drill each month, repeating them as necessary, to ensure that each security drill is practiced at least twice a year and that students and staff know what to do to protect themselves in various situations. After each safety drill, we closely monitor our students’ reactions, and we evaluate our procedures to seamlessly blend these exercises into our standard safety practices.
Guidelines on Visiting Schools
When visiting any of our schools, we ask the community to contribute to the overall safety and security of our students and staff by helping in the following ways:
- Visitors must enter the school through the main entrance at any time during the day. While this may be an inconvenience for some visitors, it is an essential component in our efforts to secure District school buildings.
- When buzzing in at the main entrance, you may be asked to announce your name and the purpose for visiting the school to the front office staff. Please be patient if we ask clarifying questions.
- Please do not hold open the door for other visitors. All visitors must be admitted by a staff member.
- Upon admission to the school, all visitors to our Elementary Schools are to report directly to the front office at any time during the day. Visitors to Columbia High School and our Middle Schools should report to the Visitors’ Desk. Once there, please sign in, announce your intention, and wait for direction. This procedure does not change after the school day.