Post Content

ACPS officials say new safety policies are working

Alexandria City Public Schools officials say that their strategies to make school safer are working, although it will take time to tell if they’re right.

Flanked by city, school and police officials, interim Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt said at a student safety forum on Wednesday night that crime incidents are down this school year.

Kay-Wyatt didn’t present data to back up the claim that schools are safer, but said that it’s because of a new identification requirement for students and staff at Alexandria City High School, staggering dismissal times, designating entrances for students and staff at schools, and providing all ACPS students with a mandatory 30 minutes of daily Social and Emotional Learning (SEAL) time.

“While we see that incidents are down, I remain very hopeful,” Kay-Wyatt said. “I believe that it’s (due to) of some of those SEAL lessons that are in place and other supports that we put in place throughout the school year to make sure that we are supporting families and students.”

There were 46 students arrested and 68 injured in the 2021-2022 school year, with 194 incidents that provoked a police response, according to an ACPS safety report. The school system is, in fact, using the 2021-2022 school year as a baseline for future improvement.

Transportation-wise, the city recently approved the installation of speed cameras in five school zones, as well as reducing speed limits in school zones to 15 miles per hour. The city is also working on walk audits for potential pedestrian improvements on roadways near Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School, George Washington and Francis C. Hammond Middle Schools, and both ACHS campuses.

By December, Kay-Wyatt will also receive recommendations on a reimagined partnership between ACPS and the police department, the latter of which provides school resource officers to the high school and the city’s middle schools. In the meantime, a proposal will be presented to the School Board to continue the SRO program as it stands until the end of the school year.

“Last year was very challenging, extremely challenging,” John Contreras, ACPS Director of Safety and Security Services, said at the forum. “It was a very challenging year and this year is a bit calmer.”

Contreras also did not present any safety data on this school year.

While the school system might feels safer, it will take time to collect the data to really see what’s working, said School Board Member Abdel Elnoubi, who attended the meeting as an audience member.

“You’ve got to give it time,” Elnoubi said.

One high school student at the event said that SEAL lessons aren’t working, and that the information being presented to the community is being “sugar-coated.”

“They have us do community circles to share our emotions, but it’s high schoolers,” another student said. “Nobody want to talk about how they feel. It’s just an awkward experience.”

Recent Stories

Within days of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, Alexandria’s City Hall was lit up with the colors of Israel. But after months of mounting civilian casualties in…

The Potomac Yard arena fight has created a fascinating mix of opponents and supporters who don’t adhere to strict political party lines. While Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin and Alexandria’s Democratic…

A 29-year-old Washington, D.C. man was arrested last month for allegedly stealing a $1,300 necklace from the First Cash Pawn shop in Alexandria’s West End and then trying to resell…

Anyone heading out this afternoon should remember to bring an umbrella: storms are likely inbound to Alexandria. The National Weather Service (NWS) said rain is likely this afternoon, mainly after…

Are you looking to work on health and fitness from the comfort of your own home?

Skip the big box gym and try out our in-home personal training service. We bring the gym to you so that you can save time and avoid the hassle of going the the crowded gym.

We bring all the equipment you need for a solid workout and if you have a community gym we can use that too.

We offer programs that will help with weight loss, strength, flexibility, more energy and overall feeling better.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Peace in Gaza: Prayer Liturgy and Community Discussion for Peace in Arlington VA, Sunday, Feb. 11, 10:15 AM

Prayer, liturgy, and community discussion for peace in Gaza, an immediate cease fire and resumption of humanitarian aid will be hosted by Nova Catholic Community. The focus will be Pope Francis’ call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, resumption of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, and peace talks for a lasting and just peace for all people in the region.

Discussion will follow at Noon on US military role in the conflict and appropriate steps the US should take to foster peace and rebuilding. Light lunch served.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list