As part of the newly-adopted “Evade and Defend” school safety protocol, the Ridgefield School District is teaming up with Ridgefield businesses to provide safe havens for students in the event of school emergency situations.

“RSD Safe Place” placards will designate participating Ridgefield businesses as places for students to shelter in the event of a school emergency. For students who decide to leave campus to escape a dangerous situation at school, these designation placards will help them find safe places within the community where they can wait until circumstances at their school are resolved.

Howard Anderson, the district’s School Resource Officer, suggested the idea after hearing concerns at an informational meeting for parents regarding the new school safety protocol. “Parents were a bit unsettled at the thought of their children leaving campus with no location in mind during an emergency,” said Anderson. He discussed his idea with Assistant Superintendent, Chris Griffith, and the district came up with the distinctive RSD Safe Place placard for businesses to display in their windows.

In partnership with the “I Love U Guys” Foundation, the school district adopted the “Evade & Defend” safety protocol this school year. It provides guidelines derived from the Standard Response Protocol (SRP), an all-hazards, evidence-based approach to school safety based on recommendations from law enforcement agencies experienced in handling a wide variety of emergencies.

School administrators received training in Evade & Defend in August, and teachers and students received training in September. Shortly thereafter, the district provided parents with information on the new safety protocol during informational parent night meetings.

The school district will provide additional training for students and staff to include information about the “RSD Safe Place” designations and will work with local businesses to help account for students they shelter during school emergencies.

“Our number one priority is student and staff safety,” said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District’s superintendent. “We have strategically engaged with our local first responders, amassed valuable information, and enhanced relationships that make it easier to keep our campuses safe.”