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Ensuring tiers of safety are in place, local school teams are trained in gatekeeping, threat assessment, trauma-informed care and school safety procedures.

A united team of local first responders have toured every school & reviewed every school emergency operations plan before the start of the school year.

Driven by Nelson County Schools' unique Care & Connect structure, every student will be well known by at least one adult in their school.  Every kid, every day.

Safe schools begin with strong relationships 

A safe environment is built on a foundation of community relationships.

This work can't be done just by one person. It takes everybody all the way down to the kids themselves watching out for each other,” says Melissa Case, director for operations and environmental safety for Nelson County Schools.

Nelson County Schools established the Director for Operations and Environmental Safety position in July 2022, the first of its kind for the school system.

The role goes beyond the traditional school safety officer model. It includes a broad portfolio of responsibilities, and chief among those is safety.

Three points of emphasis are:

  • Maintaining strong adult-student relationships 
  • Collaborating with first responders to build better coordination between agencies and school staff
  • Staff training and support

Every kid, every day

School safety experts know one key to students’ security is access to an adult who can intervene when they are in crisis. Kentucky law requires that each student is “well known by at least one adult in a school.” 

NCS has established a daily Care & Connect system and the work of ensuring every kid, every day continues to spread across the district. While each school has made their system unique to their students and some go by different titles (Nelson County has Cardinal Crews, for example), they are built on the same fundamental — building relationships with students.

At its core, the model pairs each student with a Care & Connect leader, who will unite with that student and family over the course of three to four years. That means a sixth-grader entering middle school will have a stable relationship over three years with the same adult. The same when they transition to high school.

Wes Cornett, a school safety consultant with the Kentucky Center for School Safety, said NCS is among the leaders in the field of implementing a purposeful system that builds important relationships between students and adults. 

"Those of us who are in the schools every day, we realize once I build a relationship with a child, I may be more apt to notice if they come to school and they are showing signs of trauma, or they're showing signs of meltdown, or they're showing signs of distress.” Cornett said.

 Neighbors know that it’s not just the school that educates the child, it’s not just the police who keep the town safe, it’s not just the hospital that keeps the people healthy.  It is the shared way of living.  People are safe when the streetscape is active.  People are healthy when healthy eating is the norm.  Kids are educated where adults talk to and encourage the young.  It’s the norms and behavior of the neighborhood.  It’s the people puzzling together to find the best way to live."


See Something, Say Something

Nelson County Schools employs a full-time School Resource Officer as part of our commitment to providing a safe space for students and staff. If any student, staff or community member knows of an unsafe situation in a school, they should report it immediately to school officials. Central Office can be reached at (502) 349-7000.

Email our School Resource Officer

Online Reporting

The Safety Tipline, Online Prevention hotline is designed for use as an online reporting/prevention tool through the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. You can remain anonymous and notify school officials of information concerning threats to safety. 


Personal Crisis Assistance

If you or someone you know is struggling, or in crisis, and you would like to talk or text with a suicide prevention, mental health and/or substance abuse counselor visit Kentucky's Crisis Website or call/text 988 directly

Personal Crisis Lifeline

Families Links