LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools has added dozens of new positions in its buildings with the sole mission of keeping students safe.
Earlier this year, the Jefferson County School Board approved the creation of the school safety administrator role. The “SA” works closely with the building principal to ensure each building is following established safety protocols and also make frequent contact with students. On Wednesday, Spectrum News 1 met Tanya Collins, the SA at Crosby Middle School. Collins said she is constantly on the move at least two times a day walking the grounds outside of Crosby. “I start out in the front,” Collins explained. And then she begins walking toward the back of Crosby. She checks every lock on every door. She is looking for anything out of place and anyone unusual. “So I kind of know the normal people that come through the neighborhood. Before carpool you see walkers with their kids heading toward the park but normally, I would be looking for strange vehicles in this back parking lot,” Collins said.
Collins is Crosby’s new school safety administrator, a position added to every middle and high school building in JCPS and available to any elementary upon request. Matt Anderson is the executive administrator of school culture and climate at JCPS. “We’re excited that this position is solely focused on school-level safety in the building, so they are doing a lot more around drills and training and they have more capacity to do those things,” Anderson explained.
The title is new for Collins, but the long-time mental health professional has decades of experience within the school system and several years of experience working inside Crosby Middle School. Collins is not a “school resource officer” but has direct contact with SRO’s in the district. Collins adds she has extensive training in violence prevention, de-escalation and clear objectives in the event of an intruder or school shooter. “I can confidently say our building would be able to exit and evacuate quickly. Our students and staff know they have two places they can evacuate to,” Collins explained.
Whether inside the building or out, Collins covers a lot of ground every day, interacting constantly with students and support staff.
“I want our parents to know that JCPS and Crosby takes our students’ safety extremely seriously and we want to make sure we answer any questions they may have but letting them know that Ms. Collins is here to build relationships,” Crosby Principal Kara Ammerman told Spectrum News 1.
It’s Collin’s own relationship as a mother that inspired her to pursue this position. It’s a means to protect the students of Crosby in the same way Collins protects her own family.
“I’ve got three kids of my own. Keeping them safe is huge for me.”