Milton Hershey School Achieves Second Accreditation for Exceptional Campus Safety
Milton Hershey School was recognized for its commitment to campus safety with its second accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). This makes MHS the first and only school in the United States to earn dual accreditation.
The latest distinction recognizes the school’s Central Monitoring staff in its Campus Safety department for excellence in Public Safety Communications and further validates MHS as a leader in campus safety. The Public Safety Communications Accreditation assesses an organization’s processes for quality assurance, technology, risk analysis, training, and other operational functions to determine it is operating efficiently and meeting the community’s needs. MHS earned its first accreditation for Campus Security in 2017, and has since been reviewed by CALEA annually. The school will begin its scheduled reaccreditation for Campus Security this fall.
“The safety of the students we serve is always our top priority at Milton Hershey School,” said MHS President Pete Gurt ’85. “I commend our Central Monitoring staff for their hard work and dedication. As the only school, private or public, in the nation to hold dual accreditation status from CALEA, the distinction speaks volumes about the caliber of experts we have on staff and our unwavering commitment to safety in every facet of our school.”
To achieve dual accreditation status, the MHS Campus Safety department demonstrated the implementation and diligent compliance of more than 200 best practices and security standards. Additionally, all Campus Safety telecommunicators hold multiple industry-recognized certifications and participate in required trainings which ensure they can properly and efficiently handle emergency communications while remaining steadfast in protecting students and the school community.
“The CALEA accreditation compliments Milton Hershey School’s mission to nurture and educate children in social and financial need,” said CALEA Executive Director Craig Hartley. “Through the guiding principles of loyalty, honesty, respect, and integrity, the Campus Safety department has demonstrated that they are driven by policies and procedures that adhere to the highest standards in the industry that focus on a commitment to excellence.”
The MHS Campus Safety department operates out of a centralized location that is equipped with advanced technology to benefit the school and surrounding community. This state-of-the-art facility positions MHS to exceed nationally recommended benchmarks in campus safety policies and procedures while providing around-the-clock patrols, campus monitoring, and emergency planning 365 days a year.
“This milestone is a major accomplishment—not just for our department, but for our school as a whole,” said MHS Senior Director of Campus Safety Rick Gilbert, a Campus Safety Director of the Year finalist. “Being the first school to ever attain this distinguished honor underlines our school’s commitment to providing a safe and secure campus for our students and staff. It was a rigorous accreditation process, but our Campus Safety team’s desire to reach the highest level of service is what has gotten us to where we are today. We’re determined to move forward as a model for other agencies and an area of pride for our school.”
In addition to its CALEA dual accreditation, MHS is a StormReady Community–a designation awarded to MHS by the National Weather Service for its formal hazardous weather plan and commitment to maintaining a 24-hour emergency operations center. The school is also a recipient of the International SOS Foundation Duty of Care Award for its proven ability to support and protect students who travel internationally through its Multicultural and Global Education program.
Campus Safety staff play a pivotal part in the school’s broader mission of providing a whole child approach to education by maintaining a safe environment and serving as role models for the more than 2,000 students from low-income backgrounds who come to MHS to live, learn and grow. Students have access to quality education, support, and health and wellness resources, including food, clothing, housing, and medical, dental, psychological, behavioral, and social work services–all at no cost families. The school’s best-in-class curriculum and programs help students overcome the challenges poverty has created in their lives and reach their full potential.
For more information about how MHS provides a safe campus and a whole child approach to education and student care, visit mhskids.org.