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Metropolitan Police Department
Ballou Senior High School Safety Plan
February 18, 2004




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MPD Ballou Senior High School, School Safety Plan

Mayor's press release

School Superintendent Elfreda Massie's press release

Mayor Williams, Chief Ramsey present Ballou plan, February 18, 2004


Ballou Senior High School 
School Safety Plan
February 18, 2004

Mayor Anthony A. Williams
District of Columbia

Chief Charles H. Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department

Assistant Chief Winston Robinson
Regional Operations Command East

Table of Contents

Facts About Ballou Senior High School
Risk Factors at Ballou
Security Operations at Ballou

Part 1: Command and Control and Staffing
Part II: Physical Security
Part III: School Security Policies and Procedures

Prevention and Intervention 
Appendices [Not available online]

Appendix A: WSA Contract
Appendix B: Guard Tour System
Appendix C: Entry Control

Mayor's press release


On February 2, 2004, at approximately 10:30 AM, James Richardson, a Ballou Senior High School student, was fatally shot in the school by Thomas J. Boykin, another Ballou student. It is believed that Boykin entered the school with a firearm through a side door that had been left ajar-either inadvertently or intentionally. Because of the two-hour delay of school due to icy conditions, the hallways were crowded with students not yet in class. Richardson was outside of the daycare center on the first floor when he was shot.

Unfortunately, this was only the most recent and violent of a series of incidents that have plagued Ballou during the 2003-2004 school year. At least 10 other significant altercations-which have resulted in the arrest of 11 youths-have been documented since November 4. 2003.

The Government of the District of Columbia is developing a coordinated plan to address some of the challenges at Ballou that have contributed to the outbreak of conflict and violent crime. The plan will coordinate services and outreach provided by District agencies and community-based organizations operating in the Ballou community. In order to ensure that these services reach the students in greatest need, a team will be conducting assessments to identify students and families most at risk for violence. In support of these efforts, a Ballou hotline has been established to provide ready access to the community resource network.

The goal of all of these efforts-ensuring that students at Ballou have a safe and secure learning environment-hinges on physical security at Ballou. The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) is ready to work with the Ballou community to provide this critical foundation so that students have the opportunity to succeed and to go on to help their community thrive as well. This first draft of our security proposal is based on observations of MPD personnel working at Ballou and in the community, and on the current security contract between DC Public Schools (DCPS) and the Watkins Security Agency (WSA). We have not yet received confirmation from DCPS on some information.

The overarching goals of a security plan and system are to reduce or eliminate opportunities for criminal or disorderly incidents, to increase the probability that any offenders will be caught, and to ensure that consequences are established and enforced.1 Under this plan, the third point of this critical security triangle would be a burden shared by both MPD and the Ballou administration. As always, MPD will continue to enforce the laws of the District in and around the school. In turn, Ballou must ensure that the policies needed to support a secure learning environment are in place, and that violations of school policy are handled seriously and consistently.

Facts About Ballou Senior High School

Principal: Dr. Art Bridges
Location: 3401 4th Street, SE, Ward 8, Seventh District, PSA 706
Feeder schools: P.R. Harris, Hart Middle School, and Johnson Junior High School Number of Students: 1097 students (of which it is estimated that only 800-900 are in attendance on any given day)
Number of Teachers & other Employees: 150
Building Hours:

  • Hours of classes: 8:45 AM to 3:15 PM
  • Hours of extracurricular activities: 7:30 AM to 8:45 AM, 3:15 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Hours of Ballou STAY: 9 AM to 9 PM
  • Weekend activities: There are rarely weekend activities at Ballou. Groups that have Building Use Agreements with DCPS will sometimes use it, but are required to provide security.
  • Community use: Covenant House Late Night Basketball, 8:30 of 11:30 PM, Tuesday and Friday, January through March.

Other Building Functions: Ballou STAY is an alternative education program onsite at Ballou. It is designed for students 18 years and older who have dropped out of school. Classes toward either a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate are offered a schedule that enables students to complete their degree in half the normal time. In addition, developmental reading and basic mathematics, as well as a variety of vocational classes, are offered.

Risk Factors at Ballou

In the context of security at Ballou, risk takes on two meanings: the underlying factors that contribute to-or increase the risk of-violence as well as the risks to successful implementation of a security plan. A security analysis must identify the most significant vulnerabilities in order to develop a plan to mitigate those risks. Elevated risk can be a function of general community characteristics, institutional rules and decision-making, and physical characteristics, among other things. These issues are all addressed here. One risk factor that we do not directly address is a larger community issue-some of the violent acts are so blatant that we can only assume that the perpetrators are willing to risk being caught and/or injured themselves. Though MPD plans to physically secure the facility and to provide enhanced support for the students at Ballou. the city as a whole must address the factors that foster this disregard for personal safety and security.

The Ballou Community

The Ballou school and community face many challenges that elevate the risk of incidents of violent and other crime in the school. Ballou is the only high school in Ward Eight, which, according to the 1990 Census, has the lowest median income, highest unemployment rate, and highest number of single-parent households in the District. The median income in 1998 was 35 percent less than the median income for the entire city.2

These community challenges are the backdrop for a school with recent high profile violent crimes. Conflicts or "beefs" between groups of students are common. The risk of conflict is exacerbated by the concentration of students coming from housing projects with tight crews, as well as by the liberal acceptance of out of boundary students.

School Policies

Institutional policies and their enforcement can be a mitigating or aggravating factor in school safety and security; Ballou has policies and practices that limit control and security of the campus, thereby increasing risk. A campus without policies and procedures to ensure that students are in the right place at the right times (e.g., classrooms) is difficult to monitor and make secure. It does not appear as if Ballou puts a high priority on ensuring that this happens.

For instance, truancy is a major concern in the Ballou community. During the 2003-2004 school year to date, 17 percent of the students (188) have been absent 10-13 days.3 A possible contributing factor is a recent change in truancy policy through which DCPS has restricted MPD's ability to pick up truant students. The new policy dictates that tardy students who are headed toward school should not be picked up for truancy.

Additionally, once in the school, students have a great deal of freedom to roam hallways during class periods without challenge. Students who lose their photo identification card (ID) are issued a paper ID without a photo, which they then pass on to youth not authorized to be in the building. These uncontrolled IDs increase the risk of suspended or other unauthorized youths returning to campus and being disruptive. In addition, the security system for visitors is loose; visitors are given a sticker to indicate that they have checked in with security. However, since these stickers are not a controlled inventory, others can get a hold of them.

These are just a few indicators of a school that has not chosen to strictly enforce high standards of conduct for its students. The laxity extends to more serious matters. For instance, there is a no-tolerance policy regarding possession of weapons or illegal drugs on school grounds. However, although policy requires that a student found with these items automatically be expelled from school, students are frequently suspended instead. Students who arrive at school under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not consistently suspended or expelled either. The consequences for minor violations of school policy are also minimized; the school tolerates students having walkmans, carrying book bags, and wearing coats during the day, all of which are against stated policy.


Of course, one of the most important aspects of security is control of the facilities. This relates both to the physical properties of the school and the campus and to the policies and procedures regarding its use.

We have requested from Neighborhood Services an assessment of the exterior physical conditions of the buildings and grounds. This request includes an evaluation of the critical environmental issues of lighting, fencing, and graffiti, litter, and other evidence of disorder, as well as security issues such as the number of entrances, windows, and so forth.

Whatever the physical state of the facilities, the policies governing the physical factors are equally important. There are currently five entrances in use at Ballou and not all entrances are guarded or have metal detectors. One example of an entrance that poses risk to the security of the building is the teacher's entrance, which is unlocked-and apparently unsupervised-from 8:00 to 8:45 AM. The entry control issue is discussed in depth in this report.

Ballou's parking lot has had a dangerous reputation. There are no policies or permits governing student parking-anyone can use the lot. Though at one time an armed guard had been stationed in the parking lot, this guard was removed before the February 2 shooting (the guard in the lot has since been reinstated).

The parking practices around the school are another risk factor. School officers report that students often hang out in their cars on adjacent streets after school, and many may be driving unregistered or stolen vehicles. The difficulty in controlling this problem arises because some teachers who have not wanted to use Ballou's south parking lot (for reasons of safety and convenience) have chosen to park on the street instead. Because the consequences of stricter parking restrictions will result in either teachers getting ticketed or having to park in the south lot, this has been a difficult situation to resolve.

The existing school lunch policy is also a risk factor. Currently, there is only one lunch period a day, which all students attend. Students eat lunch in the cafeteria, armory, and gym because the cafeteria only holds 300 people. This large lunch crowd increases the risk of tension and conflict between groups with "beefs." For example, in November 2003, there was sizeable brawl inside the cafeteria involving over 15 students from Barry Farms and Condon Terrace. It is important to note that the school used to have two lunch periods but changed to one period to increase security and student accountability. Because the school did not have the resources to monitor whether students were in the lunchroom at the correct time, they moved to the single lunch period. However, this policy has increased the chaos of the lunch period -with lunch areas that are far apart and crowded - having a negative impact on security.

Finally, the lack of additional security for the daycare center is a notable risk, as well as a potential liability for the city. The fatal shooting on February 2nd occurred in the hallway just outside of the daycare center, where there were no cameras and no patrols.

Security Operations

Part 1. Command and Control and Staffing of Security Operations

Unity of command speaks to the need of having a single entity responsible for security at Ballou Senior High School and that command decisions can be made by that entity with minimal consultation with others. Currently there are two agencies responsible for school security at Ballou. The primary responsibility rests with D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) Security Office. The principal at Ballou has no authority over school security. MPD plays a supporting role.

Current Command and Control Structure

DCPS provides school security through a contract with Watkins Security Agency (WSA). By contract (see Appendix A), WSA is to provide security services on a twenty-four-hours-aday, seven-days-a week, fifty-two-weeks-a-year basis at all educational, administrative, and operational locations. The original contract authorized 343.5 FTEs for all schools.

There is a Project Manager at WSA for the DCPS contract who is accountable to Mr. Tuckson, head of DCPS Security. There is also an Assistant Project Manager and Chief Investigator at WSA. There is a Cluster Supervisor who is responsible for time and attendance and discipline for the school security personnel at group of schools in a geographic area. A Senior School Resource Officer is the immediate supervisor at each junior and senior high school (see Chart 1). School Security Officers, who are unarmed, report to the Senior School Resource Officer, and Facility Security Officers, who are armed, report to the Project Manager.

WSA operates a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week Central Command Center (CCC) at DCPS headquarters. This is an information gathering and communications center. Personnel assigned to the CCC monitor the CCTV cameras and alarms in the schools. The CCC has the capability to dispatch the armed Facility Security Officers, who respond to various locations as needed. WSA also has investigators, who investigate incidents in and around school property involving students and staff, a Youth Gang Task Force, which does conflict mediation in the schools and with the gangs in the area, and Operation SAVE, which is a back-up unit. The Senior School Resource Officer has the daily responsibility for security at Ballou. They are advised by the DCPS Security Office to coordinate with the principal.

Chart 1. DCPS Organization for Ballou Security

Chart 1. DCPS Organization for Ballou Security

Current WSA and MPD Staffing and Roles

Normally there are seven WSA personnel assigned to Ballou. Since the recent shooting incident, 4 armed officers and 20 unarmed officers have been assigned to Ballou. The security force assigned to Ballou on the day of the recent shooting incident consisted of ten to twelve unarmed officers and one supervisor, which was higher than normal because there had been many fights at the school prior to the shooting incidents. No special units were present.

WSA personnel are to perform the following type of work at Ballou:

  • Conduct static and roving patrols (armed officers patrol the perimeter and are not allowed in the school unless a serious incident occurs).
  • Apply crime prevention measures.
  • Prepare and submit reports of incidents, investigations, intrusions.. crime and other matters.
  • Control entrances and exits to facilities and vital areas.
  • Apprehend persons attempting to, or gaining unauthorized access to any DCPS facility.
  • Check rooms and buildings during non-school hours.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) also normally assigns two School Resource Officers to Ballou, who work alongside the WSA staff in a coordinated manner. Both WSA and MPD officers patrol the building and the perimeter of the school and both groups of officers make arrests. MPD has authority in all criminal matters. The MPD officers are members of the Seventh Police District and are supervised by the School Resource Sergeant assigned to the Seventh District. In addition to the duties listed above, MPD officers also are present at school events and assist with the school peer counseling program. The Sergeant is responsible for scheduling and supervising all School Resources Officers in the Seventh District and for coordinating training.

In addition, MPD has responsibility for patrolling and providing police services in the neighborhoods and on the streets outside of Ballou H.S. Ballou sits in PSA 706, which has 26 officers assigned to it. There is one officer assigned to the Seventh District who is trained to provide G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) and D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) training in the schools. Finally, under Organizational Development, the Office of Youth Violence Prevention provides crisis intervention, conflict resolution, and other services (see Chart 2).

Chart 2. MPD's Organization for Security at Ballou High School

Chart 2. MPD's Organization for Security at Ballou High School

Recommended Command and Control Structure

To say that there is a lack of unity in command and control for Ballou school security is an understatement. It is essential that a unity of command be established at Ballou High School to ensure daily communication and coordination of efforts between MPD and WSA. It is recommended that the WSA on-site personnel be placed under the command of a MPD Sergeant who will be assigned to Ballou and work on-site. The Sergeant will report directly to the Commander of the Seventh District (see Chart 3). To increase supervision of school security personnel, the MPD is exploring the use of the Guard Tour System, an electronic verification system used to check the movement of security personnel (see Appendix B).

Chart 3. Recommended Ballou H.S. Security Organization

Chart 3. Recommended Ballou H.S. Security organization

Recommended WSA and MPD Staffing and Roles

The MPD Sergeant for Ballou will be charged with ensuring that all personnel are performing their duties, that information is being shared between staff and among units in MPD and DCPS, and that the Ballou security team continues to evaluate the nature and extent of the violence in and around Ballou and develop and implement plans to address the causes of this violence. The Sergeant will routinely meet with the Seventh District Commander to discuss issues, intelligence, planned events, and external security needs. In summary. one person, a sergeant of police will:

  • Ensure that DC law and DCPS policy regarding school security are enforced.
  • Meet with the principal of the school on a daily basis to discuss security issues.
  • Work with the school administrative staff to develop school procedures to address criminal activity and school safety.
  • Work with school administrators to develop early warning systems about potentially problematic students and geographic areas in schools.
  • Assist in identifying physical changes needed to reduce crime in and around schools.
  • Coordinate with MPD Intelligence Unit to ensure that all intelligence information is exchanged.
  • Direct and monitor all school security personnel.
  • Ensure all security equipment is working.
  • Coordinate with student, teacher, and parent hall monitors.

The staffing proposal is to increase the total security staff at Ballou from fourteen to thirtyone people. This increase will provide security during all hours of operation. This proposal will allow the staffing of eleven posts throughout schools and roving patrols inside and outside the school.

MPD has assigned three additional Seventh District officers and one on-site sergeant to Ballou. In addition, the Seventh District G.R.E.A.T./D.A.R.E training officer will be available to support the safety plan at Ballou. In addition, we will look at shifting the work site for the four officers assigned to the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Club No. 11 to work afternoon hours at Ballou. Also, one of the three newly assigned MPD officers will be designated to serve as the liaison to the Washington Area Boys and Girls Club located at the school (the Washington Area clubs have merged with the Police Boys and Girls Clubs and works closely with Club No. 11).

MPD personnel, along with appropriate WSA employees, will continue to perform traditional school security duties. In addition, their role will include:

  • Aggressively enforce the school's rules and regulations, confiscating all contraband and bringing violators to the school's discipline office.
  • Bringing community policing to the schools.
  • Collecting and sharing criminal intelligence with the MPD Intelligence Unit and the Seventh District.
  • Using problem-solving methods in working with students, teachers, and administrators.
  • Expanding and enhancing police involvement in peer mediation program.
  • Assisting the PSA officers with enforcing truancy laws.

The Youth Violence Intervention Team will continue to work in the school with the School Resource Officers, Gang Task Force, and Operation SAVE personnel. Their mission is to help reduce current tensions and identify and intervene before personal conflicts escalate to violence.

It is important to note that this staffing plan is specific to Ballou -- which still has a high risk for violence-and will not necessarily be replicated at other schools. Since overseeing school security requires reassigning MPD personnel from current posts, it is critical that the plans be tailored to address the relative risk at specific schools.

Table 1. Staffing by Agency

  Current Proposed
WSA 10 to 12 24 total:
I Supervisor (unarmed)
I Senior School Resource Officer (unarmed)
13 School Resource Officers (unarmed)
3 Facility Security Officers (armed)
2 Youth Gang Taskforce (unarmed)
2 Operation SAVE (unarmed)
2 Investigator (1 armed)
MPD 2 School Resource Officers 6 total:
5 School Resource Officers
1 Sergeant
DCPS None 1 Investigator
Total 12 to 14 31

Table 2. Proposed Staffing by Shift

Shift WSA DCPS MPD Total
0700-1600 hrs 5   1 6
0800-1700 hrs 16 1 4 21
1230-2100 hrs 2   1 3
1530-2130 hrs 1     1
Total       31


It is recommended that this staffing plan be reassessed after the additional physical security and policy improvements are made. Improved technology, policy, and effective enforcement of policy may allow a reduction in staffing.

Part II. Physical Security

Physical security refers to security measures taken to maintain control of the Ballou Senior High School building and the external area, which includes the parking lot, athletic fields, patio areas, and adjacent streets. A plan for the physical security of Ballou must address the following issues:

  • Entry/Exit Points
  • Entry-Control Procedures
  • Weapons Detection Procedures
  • Hall Monitoring/Patrol Procedures
  • Communications System
  • Duress Alarm System
  • Surveillance System
  • Control of Exterior Area
  • Visibility of Security

In addition, to implement MPD's School Safety Plan, the following equipment is needed:

  • 4 magnetometers
  • 3 x-ray machines
  • 6 hand-held wands
  • ID card reader for teacher's entrance
  • Computer system with a photo ID database
  • Cameras on doorways, with automatic photo technology
  • MPD access to CCTV cameras
  • Guard Tour System

A cost analysis for the equipment will need to be conducted.

The table below outlines the current systems and procedures and the MPD recommendations to improve the physical security of Ballou.

Table 3. Current and Proposed Physical Security Operations

  Current  Proposed
Entry/Exit Points 11 exterior entranceways: 5 are used as access ways to the building and 6 remain locked from both the inside and outside most of the time. The only exception is that the doors to the auditorium are opened during special events. See Appendix C for a list of entrances and their locations. Students will not be permitted to gain access to the facility except through the main entrance. A walkthrough was completed with D.C. Fire and DCRA to review which doors would be installed with a delay egress system. See Appendix C for a detailed description of the plan.
Entry-Control Procedures Many access points are not guarded. Two security officers and three MPD officers will be positioned in main lobby entrance all day. All other doors will be locked.
  All students not immunized delaying the issuance of the student identification cards Request a Mobile Medical Immunization Vehicle respond to Ballou Senior High School. Establish an accurate and current list of students and issue identification cards.
  At entrances with metal detectors, students are required to be scanned. However, students may make unauthorized entrances at unguarded entrances. Students and visitors entering the building will be required to enter at guarded main entrance and to present valid photo identification or school ID. Everyone will be required to pass through one of three metal detectors and put their personal property through an adjacent x-ray machine.
  Teachers enter at an unguarded entrance. Teacher's entrance will be locked and equipped with an ID card reader for teacher's access.
  Students without photo ID are issued a one-day paper pass with name and date, but without a photo. (The passes are often transferred from one student to another allowing unauthorized students in the school.) Request change in school policy to eliminate one-day passes. A computer system with a photo ID database should be established to allow security officers to identify any student failing to provide an identification card. All students without identification will be escorted to the main office, where a new identification card will be created.
  IDs of suspended and expelled students are confiscated and photos are made available to the security staff; however, suspension policies are inconsistently enforced by the school. Implement proposed policy changes and consistently enforce policy. 
  Unauthorized persons in building are subject to arrest. No person is permitted on the campus without photo identification. All visitors sign visitors log and report to the main office to get a visitors pass. Visitors will be required to surrender their photo ID when they obtain a pass.
Weapons Detection Three walk-through metal detectors: One at main entrance. One at student entrance with x-ray machine. One at night school entrance. Two hand-held wands. Students will be required to walk through one of three metal detectors (magnetometers) and be scanned for weapons and illegal contraband by one of three x-ray machines at the main entrance. One additional magnetometer and one x-ray machine will be at the night school entrance.
  One x-ray machine, student entrance. All parcels, bags and coats will be scanned through the x-ray machine.
  No barriers around the magnetometers, so students and visitors could potentially bypass security. Barriers to he erected around the x ray machine and magnetometers so that students will not be able to avoid being screened.
Hall Monitoring  Insufficient staff to monitor hallways. Students in the hallways must have a hall pass and violators may be suspended or are returned to the classroom. Increase security staff and place supervisor on site. Ensure constant patrols to monitor hallways, restrooms, etc.
Communications All security personnel and key school administrators are equipped with radios, however, the MPD officers and the security officers are not on the same frequency so they cannot communicate with each other. MPD officers try to station themselves near a security officer so they have access to the radio communication. All security personnel and key school administrators must be equipped with two-way radios and/or cellular phones that allow for communication within the building and on campus.
Duress Alarms Nothing in place currently. Installation of delay egress doors.
Surveillance 53 CCTV cameras, listed as red circles on the floor plan, are monitored off campus at the Central Command Center, but they are also displayed in the principal's office and the security office. Recordings are made and archived for 14 days (but there was no camera in the area of the shooting). MPD will review positioning of cameras. Real-time CCTV camera footage will be made accessible to the MPD's Joint Operations Command Center and when in operation, will be utilized under existing MPD protocol. In addition, MPD will explore the use of cameras pointed at locked doors to automatically photograph unauthorized entries.
Control of Exterior Area Armed officers patrol the parking lots, but are assigned inconsistently (during the incident there was no armed guard in the south parking lot). Permanently assign one armed officer in north and one in south parking lot during school hours.
  DPW assists with enforcement of parking violators on 4th Street. Increase routine patrols on 4th street adjacent to the school, including 4th and Trenton and 4th and Savannah, and give increased attention to suspicious subjects sitting in parked vehicles.
    Conduct general patrols and designate foot/bicycle patrols for targeted areas to maintain order maintenance and conduct zero tolerance enforcement activities. Staffing will be adjusted as needed.
Visibility Signage Signs in front of school announcing increased penalties for drugs, alcohol, and weapons violations. No signs prohibiting trespassing inside or outside school. Posted signs warning that unauthorized trespassers are subject to arrest.
Camera Placement Not visible Post signs saying the building is monitored by video cameras.
Police Officers MPD School Resource officers make themselves visible by being in the cafeteria or main lobby when students enter the building, and by patrolling the building. MPD officers are present at school assemblies and other events. Increase the number of officers assigned to increase visibility.

Part Ill. School Security Policies and Procedures

An effective School Safety Plan must be supported by school policies regarding discipline, conflict resolution, disrespectful behavior, and similar issues. MPD proposes to review current DCPS policies and research best practices in school security and violence reduction over the next several weeks in order to prepare a more comprehensive proposal.

In the meantime, the following policy issues should be addressed immediately:

  • Establish stronger disciplinary administration, including designating one assistant principal to handle all discipline matters in the school, better recordkeeping about enrolled students and disciplinary actions against them, zero tolerance enforcement of dress code policies (for example, no wearing of coats in the building, no clothing with obscene words or pictures, no gang insignia, etc.).
  • Establish a Closed Campus policy to restrict students' coming and going from the building during the school day, except in extenuating circumstances. Post no trespassing signs and signage about video camera surveillance.
  • Establish strict policies for students suspended from attending classes. For example: students must remain at home during the hours the school is in session unless otherwise authorized.
  • Establish policy to issue all suspended/expelled students a "barring notice" that requires students to stay off all school properties, unless otherwise authorized.
  • Implement computerized student identification system that contains the students photo and schedule. Issue student IDs annually, changing the color, and including a bar code that is tied to the student's record. Eliminate one-day passes for students who forget or lose their IDs and reissue photo ID immediately.
  • Establish policies to limit and control visitors' access, for example, holding the visitor's photo ID at the registration desk.
  • Establish a student and teacher hall monitoring program and a Parents on Patrol (POPs) program.
  • Establish two lunch periods in order to reduce opportunities for conflicts between students.
  • Establish policies and procedures for the registering of all lockers, cutting of locks from unregistered lockers and removal of contents. In addition, the school should notify parents and students about locker policies, and conduct announced random locker inspections. When possible, inspections should take place in the presence of the student; otherwise, an inspection notice should be left in the locker.
  • Conduct stricter enforcement of truancy laws.
  • Establish a central office for DCPS, MPD, and social work supervisors to be colocated in order to improve coordination on school safety issues.
  • Issue parking pen-nits for students and teachers that use the school parking lot; the permits will require proof of valid vehicle registration and inspection. In addition, the school should have unauthorized vehicles towed at the owner's expense, with the appropriate warning signs posted in the lot.
  • Restrict student attendance at school-sponsored special events to students meeting academic or behavioral standards. At the Friendship Edison Charter School in the Sixth District, for example, students must have a 2.0 grade point average to attend special events. Friendship also frequently exercises its authority to exclude outside individuals from such events.

Prevention and Intervention

School safety is more than just securing the school's physical property and grounds. In order to promote a true sense of safety and security among students and staff, the school and community must address many underlying issues that contribute to conflict and violence in the lives of students at Ballou. To that end, many District agencies and organizations are developing plans to ensure that students and families have access to all available support. We also recommend that the school and community partner with MPD on the following initiatives:

  • Because threats to safety and security continually evolve, an active school security partnership between parents, teachers, students, administrators, and police must be developed and sustained to address new challenges to safety and security.
  • Rapid communication protocols will be established to enable the Seventh District to notify the school and all security personnel of criminal incidents occurring in the neighborhood that may carry over into the school.
  • The Clergy Police Community Partnership, which provides intervention services to at-risk youth, will work with the Ballou community to identify and address the underlying causes of youth violence. The CPCP will spearhead this continuing effort to foster communication and sustainable change in the community.
  • The MPD's Domestic Violence Unit and Special Program Development Group will partner with related organizations to implement a program to help students handle violence in relationships and families. At the same time, all staff, including security officers, need to attend Domestic Violence Intervention Training so that they can support students in learning how to stop the cycle of violence.
  • The MPD Office of Youth Violence Prevention Conflict Prevention Team will work with students to help them learn to avert conflict before it can escalate into violence. Again, all staff should also become familiar with these techniques.
  • Beyond dealing with and averting conflict, the MPD Youth Problem-Solving Partnerships (YPSP) model should be used to help students develop better problem-solving skills. The YPSP program partners teams of youth with community organizers and mentors who work together to plan and implement a project to help their community. During the problem-solving process, youth: (1) learn and practice leadership and team skills; (2) identify and analyze community problems; and (3) develop and implement solutions to a community problem. Long after the completion of their projects, program participants will be able to apply these skills with their families, among peers, and in their communities.
  • The development of a stronger conflict resolution and mediation program, modeled after best practices in the U.S. and supported by training of school teachers, administrators, counselors, and security personnel.

1. National Institute of Justice. The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in US. Schools: A Guide for Schools and Law Enforcement Agencies. September 1999.

2. Fountain, John W. "Ward 8: After Long Slide, Hope Peeks From Ruins," The Washington Post. May 28, 1998, pg. J 1.

3. Per Patrick Canavan, Director, Neighborhood Services.

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Government of the District of Columbia
Executive Office of the Mayor

Office of Communications
Tony Bullock

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 
Cell: 202-368-4831

Mayor Williams and MPD Chief Release Ballou Security Plan
Steps taken to revamp public safety at high school in Southeast

(Washington, DC) Today, DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey released a draft plan for enhancing security at Ballou Senior High School in Ward 8, in the wake of recent violence at the school. Mayor Williams and Chief Ramsey expect recommendations on the draft plan from the City Council, the School Board and interim District of Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Elfreda Massie. 

"This security plan is custom designed for Ballou Senior High School," said Mayor Williams. "The plan calls for specific improvements and staffing recommendations for this facility. Our concept going forward will be to individually assess the security needs of our city's schools on a case-by-case basis and design and implement security plans that will work for each school."

Chief Ramsey said, "Our goal - and we're working hard at it - is to create a safe environment for students to learn at Ballou. This plan is a first step toward that goal."

Mayor Williams emphasized that the draft security plan relies on cooperation from DCPS, the Council and the community. And, going forward, implementing the plan requires cooperation from all parties to ensure that the students and the Ballou community have a safe learning environment in which they can thrive.

"We have to do more than just beef up security," said Mayor Williams. "We can't just throw more cops and money at the problem and think that we have done the job. We need to address the root causes of the violence that plagues our schools. We need to involve social workers, teachers, community leaders, parents and clergy."

For the full text of the plan, please visit the MPD Web site at: http://mpdc.dc.gov/main.shtm 

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District of Columbia Public Schools 
News Release

Elfreda W. Massie, Ph.D., Interim Superintendent  

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 
Rachel Christoferson 
(202) 724-4222
Weekends/Evenings (202) 727-6161

“Interim Superintendent Massie Favors Working With MPD, But Doesn’t Support Plan”

Washington, DC – District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Interim Superintendent Elfreda W. Massie today offered her response to the Metropolitan Police Department’s proposal to Mayor Anthony A. Williams to overhaul security efforts in DCPS schools. 

“Our responsibility as a school system is to provide safe and secure environments that support the academic needs of our students,” said Dr. Massie.“ To add to an education environment additional police officers who carry weapons and have the authority to arrest students, does not address the problems that cause violence in our communities, neighborhoods and schools. Our schools are not beats, and our students are not criminals.” 

“Our parents reasonably are requesting schools that are safe for their children. The plan presented to the Mayor by MPD does not deal with the issues that are at the root of violent behavior in this city, such as the lack of employment opportunities for parents and students, substance and drug abuse in our neighborhoods, easy access to guns and the lack of recreational facilities and after-school sports activities.” 

“We need to address the academic, social, emotional and mental health issues of our students and families. We know that many adolescents display behaviors in school that are a direct result of their inability to cope with negative situations in their lives. There are issues surrounding child psychology and adolescent behavior that are unique in a school setting. I have a real concern that police officers may have an inclination to arrest students who display aberrant behaviors rather than use appropriate prevention and intervention strategies.” 

“We are not abdicating our significant responsibilities, and I support working with the MPD. But the proposed plan appears to be a band-aid approach that does not address the needs of this city or this school system. MPD officers were at both Anacostia and Senior High Schools when the tragic shootings occurred this school year, and their presence did not deter these violent crimes.” “We have developed plans for high schools, including Ballou Senior High School, to improve leadership and management, increase student attendance, provide more rigor in the academic program, and improve discipline and behavior management. The escalating presence of violence in today’s schools requires a unique, collaborative approach to adequately address this issue.”

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